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Hi Mike and Mark,

      I'ver been told that I often roll my eyes and scrunch my forehead when I don't agree with something that someone says in a meeting. It doesn't help that I'm following your tip on always turning my body towards them to listen. It's something that I've done all my life and have no idea how to stop. I've asked my wife to speak up when I do it at home, but in the work place, I don't have any one I can trust to give me the feedback count after a meeting.

Thanx,
Bill

NickA's picture

Is this really a bad thing?  I like it when people know what I'm thinking, it reduces confusion and frustration.  Unless you can't be persuaded that you're wrong when you're wrong, in which case people find that frustrating.  But a poker face wouldn't be the solution to that problem.

billramo's picture

Hi Nicka, I never thought it was that bad, especially when other people did it while I was making a point. It gets you to think, somehow I might not be expressing myself clearly, or I need to better understand their point of view. However, I seem to be doing it so much that it's impacting my communication style. So, I'm looking for tips on how to control it.
Thank you,
Bill

peterlevy's picture

I'd say it's a bad thing if it inhibits communication. And when you're the boss, you need to be going out of your way to make upward communication more likely.

It's also a bad thing if it reveals a mindset that is not open to different opinions. And maybe that's the answer. Maybe what you need to develop more is the ability to reserve judgement until the speaker has fully developed their point, and you had a chance to digest it, allowing you to maintain authenticity without inhibiting discussion.

Communication is what the listener does, right?

NickA's picture

Yeah, eye-rolling can appear arrogant.  It might be more effective, when you disagree with something, to write yourself a note about it.  This has a couple of benefits:

- Makes you look like you're taking the matter seriously and are paying attention to what's being said

- Gives you something to go back to later, which means you can forget about your disagreement for the moment and pay attention to whatever is less contentious about what's being said.

Another trick is to make sure you ask lots of questions when you disagree, making sure that you open up the conversation when there's disagreement, instead of closing it down.

Davis Staedtler's picture

I like Nicka's mention.  Good stuff.

 

~Davis

jhack's picture

Nicka's suggestions are good... Try to focus on the good part of the idea. Typically an idea with which we disagree isn't all bad, so when you write that note, write something good about the idea or the background that inspired it.

 

John Hack

tlhausmann's picture

Concentrate on *not* reacting and mentally rehearse a neutral question: "Hmmm, I had not considered that option...can you tell me more about it?"

I'm an "off the chart" high C personality. I regularly ask probing questions and sometimes folks interpret my actions as challenging. As stated in the podcasts: "Communication is what the listener does" so you have to adjust your actions and words to be effective.

billramo's picture

Not reacting and using the neutral question makes a lot of sense. It's time to start rehearsing the line.  For everyone else, you also have great sugggestions and I thank you very much for your help.

Cheers,
Bill

Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/billramo
Blog: blogs.microsoft,com/billramo

JulieGeek's picture

I've been told I also "make faces". I've found that I usually do it in response to something I'm saying in my head, rather than vocalizing, e.g., "What a moron!" and my facial expression changes to match the voice in my head. I like the idea of rehearsing and deliberately making my "inside the head" voice say instead, "Hmmm. Looks like I need to ask for clarification..."

I tried both internal dialogues as I was typing this message. It was surprising how drastically it changed not only my facial expression, but my body language as well.