Here’s a New Year’s resolution for your consideration.
Resolve to retrain your brain from conveying information to eliciting it.
It won’t be easy, but the rewards will be transformative.
The concept is simple
Track what you say, and note how many of your statements end in a period. If you’re like most of us, the percentage is high.
Now switch from making statements to asking questions.
Sounds simple, right?
Unfortunately, it’s actually very challenging.
Ego and Neuroscience
To ask questions, you have to put your ego aside. This can be difficult.
You also have to fight brain chemistry. When we talk – particularly about ourselves – the neural regions of our brain typically associated with highly pleasurable activities (like sex, addictive drugs, and great food) light up. Self-disclosure has been aptly described as “highly pleasurable.”
That’s why we like to do it.
And that’s also why it’s so difficult to stop doing it.
The rewards are immense
While overcoming these obstacles is formidable, the rewards are immense.
Think about it this way: You may not experience the pleasure inherent in talking about yourself, but you’re transferring that experience to the other person.
It’s like giving a really nice present to someone every time you interact with them. How do you think they’re going to feel about you?
All you have to do is ask questions. If you want to maximize the positive impact, phrase the question to empower the other person to talk about themselves.
The nice part about implementing this resolution is the results are immediate. They will be evident in any setting – personal and professional. Doing so will enhance all your relationships, especially with your loved ones.
I can’t think of a better New Year’s resolution.
Resource of the week
This article in Forbes discusses the power of asking questions.