The Primal Instinct of Business Management Part I

Mastering Skills in Personal Relationships

Have you ever been impressed by a manager who was thrust into a difficult situation or conversation and been amazed by how well they handled it? This article aims to teach you some of the skills of a “conversation master”.

Let’s discuss Primal Instincts and what happens when we get into a critical conversation with others.

A critical conversation happens when 3 things are present:

1) Stakes are High,

2) Emotions run strong, and

3) There are differences in opinions.

A critical conversation can occur spontaneously and catch us off guard. When we are in a stressful & important conversation, our body pumps adrenaline.
We didn’t ask our body to do this, but it’s hard wired into our system. Blood is sent coursing to arms and legs to fight or flee, and our higher reasoning centers are starved of blood and oxygen. It’s our primal response.

We are then forced to think on our feet with the brain equivalent of a monkey and we’re stuck with the consequences of our words and actions. In our doped up, dumbed down state, when we need our intelligence most, we’re at our worst. Add to that our learned responses from watching our parents or co-workers deal with conflict, a few Jerry Springer shows and we can be in trouble.

OK, so we understand what is happening to us during this critical conversation. This is important, because we want to listen to our own bodies so we can stay in dialogue, but just as importantly, we know what’s happening with the other person in the conversation.

We have 3 choices when faced with an important conversation.

1. Ignore the problem, go silent and hope it goes away.

2. Deal with the problem poorly

3. Deal with the problem well.


We apply the most basic of primal reactions: WE CREATE SAFETY!

Safety short circuits the primal response. Our number 1 goal is to make people feel safe in the conversation. This means they feel safe in expressing their true feelings or thoughts, even if they are angry. We’ve all had phone calls where we the other person shouts at first. Many times, they are reasonable after their initial outburst. Up until recently, most people believed that this is because they get a chance to blow off steam, but, a conversation master understands that safety has been created by not attacking the caller, & has made them feel they have been heard, allowing their adrenaline to come down.
Other times, you will have to work hard to draw the thoughts out of the other person. Drawing out their feelings to create safety allows people to contribute to the conversation, and keeps their adrenal glands in check.
If we don’t provide safety, then an individual WILL provide their own safety by clamming up and going to silence, or they’ll resort to verbal violence as another defense for personal safety. Learning to look for safety and create safety will greatly improve your personal and professional life.

We create safety by following a few simple principles:

1. Check YOUR motives at the door.

You should already know what you want out of the relationship or conversation. So start with heart. Stick with what’s important. In a heated conversation, you might subconsciously want to be sarcastic, humiliate them or put them in their place, especially if they you’ve been verbally attacked. If you start to feel this way, take a breath and remember what’s most important by asking these 4 questions:

1. What do I want for myself

2. What do I want for others,

3. What do I want for the relationship, and most importantly,

4. How would I behave if I really wanted these results?

Regularly asking these 4 questions outside of important conversations teaches you about your goals, what’s important to you, how to stay focused and clear.