Stacy Nelson is a Master Trainer and Senior Consultant at VitalSmarts.
Can you offer any insight on how to help a participant apply the learning from the Left Hand-Right Hand column exercise (Start with Heart) when the participant states that they are an extravert and they always share exactly what they are thinking?
Assuming that this person has completed the “Acid Test” exercise in “Get Unstuck”—-there are probably some conversations where they are frustrated in their ability to influence another person to think differently or act differently by engaging them in “Dialogue.”
As far as the Left Hand column exercise is concerned, meet them where they are. Have them focus on the Right Hand Column and the impact of always sharing exactly what they are thinking on creating conditions of “dialogue” and “safety.” Would it be better to pause and reconsidered the impact of their thoughts and feelings before “openly” sharing?
This style of “openly sharing” can be further validated by their style under stress assessment. It may be that they have a very low score on “silence” due to the fact that they simply share the raw, unedited conclusions and attributions. But how is this impacting safety and the free flow of meaning?
We encourage people to be honest in their interaction, not in an abrasive manner, but rather a persuasive manner. In order to move from abrasive to persuasive, they have to reconsider their emotionally charged thoughts and feelings and find a way to express themselves in a more reasoned, reflective and persuasive manner. This may mean that as an extrovert, they have to learn a new skill of creating a gap between stimulus and response before expressing thoughts and feelings.
The key here is for this person to honestly ask; what do I really want for myself, for others and for the relationship? Then pause before expressing themselves to see if what they are about to say will result in getting what they really want.
Part of the skill set of Crucial Conversations is learning ways of altering thoughts and actions to facilitate safety and dialogue, regardless of whether they are an introvert, or extrovert. Don’t let the DNA determine the destiny.