Finding Our Way from Distrust to Connection In the wake of multiple acts of excessive violence against humanity, including the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I know I am navigating the feelings of despair, hopelessness, fear, and emotional numbness. All of this is on top of more than two years of the pandemic. How do we find our way out of such darkness? Over these past two years, I have relied on my training in Conversational Intelligence® to guide me and clients toward conversations that move from distrust to connection. I think about the wisdom of Judith E. Glaser, mother of Conversational Intelligence® who sadly departed the physical world in November 2018. What would she be offering us at this time? Her work is based on decades of research on the neuroscience of conversation. “To get to our next level of greatness depends on the quality of our culture, which depends on the quality of our relationships, which depends on the quality of our conversations. Everything happens through conversations.” Our brain is wired to determine whether the information we receive makes us feel like we are “In or Out” of a social group. In .07 seconds our amygdala makes this determination and either pumps cortisol to position ourselves for survival OR pumps oxytocin and moves us to a state of safety and connection. I came across this article written by Judith in 2017, offering a few steps to move from dis-ease to ease through connection. Invite to connect: If you are sensing a disconnect, move toward the other person. How can you move toward them without stress to activate positive energies? Mind-and Heart-Map: The heart connection is vital for relationships. It is the gateway of your emotions. If you feel excluded, judged or rejected, your neurochemistry changes. You will see reality as unfair, harsh, and critical. Conversely, when you feel included, you see reality with possibility and optimism. You look for good things to happen. When you reach out to connect, you are remapping your mind-heart connection. Conversational Agility: When you sense you are moving toward stress and distrust, you can use the tools of Reframe, Refocus and Redirect to move toward a mindset of connection. Reframing takes a difficult situation and turns it into an opportunity. Moving from what was lost to what did you learn from that loss? Refocusing allows you to move from a place of being stuck to a larger topic where there may be connections you had not seen before. Redirecting moves you from a place of being stuck to a place of new possibilities. It only takes .07 seconds to move in either direction. With awareness and practice, you can move toward positivity and optimism. To learn more about the tools of Conversational Agility, check out this blog post or listen to this episode of Minutes with Mary.