Creating positive conversations

Feel good hormones released during positive conversations elevate our ability to communicate better, collaborate more enthusiastically, and trust easier.
Being positive makes collaboration easier

All too often, many conversations that we have with each other fall short of being built on meaning, purpose and substance. We engage in conversations that not only fail to draw in the person we are speaking to, but also retain their attention for longer than that of 35 seconds. It's far too easy to blame the busyness of the day, or mayhem of that particular moment. To say that meaningful, heart-felt conversations are that of distance memories, is very much an excuse to falling in to the trap of simply not caring. 

As human beings, we a genetically predisposed to want and need interaction with another human. The physical contact. The emotionally driven crave for nurture. The verbal communication. It's all part and parcel of evolution and human development. Chemistry plays a massive role as well. When we engage in negative conversations, or those that hold rejection or criticism, we ultimately feel excluded, or marginalised. This therefore results in bringing forth emotions such as fear, anger, frustration, sadness, and so on. Neurologically, when this happens, our bodies produce higher levels of cortisol, and this shuts down the frontal lobe of our brain, and initiates the activation of our amygdala – our fight/flight response, and we become more reactive and sensitive.

On the flip side, positive comments and conversations also produce a release of hormones within our bodies. However, these feel good hormones – in particular, oxytocin, elevate our ability to communicate better, collaborate more enthusiastically, and trust easier. Naturally, these are all excellent drivers in helping to create, and sustain positive conversations. 

We get so caught up and lost in our heads. Forfeiting to the thinking processes that put us so far in to the future that is not yet ours, or way back in to a past that we ultimately cannot change. The here and now can bring with it so much wonder and beauty. And creating positive conversations really can be the foundation to such moments. 

With the people in your life, I encourage you to simply stop. Stop, and consciously become an active participant to conversations with them. Ask them questions, and show them that you are curios and interested in what they are talking about. In doing so, you too are a driver in nurturing the act of creating positive conversations.  

As part of your genuine interest, invest in being relatable. What I mean, is don't try to be someone, or something that you are not. For example, I personally, am not a lover of politics. I generally zone out on political news reports, and skip past those pages in the newspaper. So, if I at any stage find myself amongst people at the lunch table who are in deep discussion that involves any form of political dialogue, I either do one of two things – I politely excuse myself. Or, if asked a question which then requires me to inevitably participate before I actually act on my 'great escape', I give my honest response. (Prefaced of course by stating that politics really isn't my thing.)

However, it's not just the use of verbal language that helps to create positive conversations. Body language also plays a pivotal role. The use of eye contact is incredibly powerful, and tells the person you are talking to that you are completely in the moment with them. That they have your undivided attention, and your focus is on them.

Creating positive conversations within all of our relationships is a powerful way to help nurture the bond we develop with each other. The more we understand how we can implement these very simple strategies, and then practise them, the more empowered we become as individuals, and the more our communication and connection with each other will flourish.

(Michelle is presenting at the Wellbeing for Future Focused Schools Conference - 4 & 5 June 2021)