Fight, Flight, Freeze, Freedom
Whether you’re a leader, coach, parent, or person of influence, all of us want to get better at communicating. Becoming a great communicator begins with taking full responsibility for the response our communication elicits. This means we take extreme ownership of how our communication style impacts its recipient.
Here’s the question…
What is the mindset your communication typically creates?
For the sake of simplicity we are going to break this idea down into three avenues of communication;
How we communicate with others
How others communicate with us
How we communicate with ourselves
I’ve found that there are four different types of mindsets my communication is ultimately going to put someone in…
The first one is fight. A fight mindset is pretty self-explanatory. This person is going to get defensive and/or argumentative. Either way, it is not the best mental landscape for learning.
Flight is second. In a flight mindset, they mentally check out of the conversation. This usually happens nonchalantly or passive-aggressively.
Third mindset is freeze. This is when they’re just overloaded and can’t really make sense of what is being said. It’s followed by silence or a lot of umms.
The final mindset and this is the one that’s most important, is freedom.
Putting somebody in a freedom mindset means that they are now open and curious about whatever it is you are sharing with them. In order to do this, you have to get really good at a skill called framing. How you frame your communication is what will determine the mindset you put them in.
If I have to have a difficult or direct conversation with someone, I’ll start with a question like, “Do I have enough relationship equity with you to have a very direct conversation?” As you can imagine this is a very disarming question. The person I’m talking to naturally moves into a state of curiosity which is exactly where I want them.
Now I’m able to help them get to whatever it is or wherever it is that they want to go. I’m here to provide the perspective and insight that can take them from where they are to wherever it is that they really want to be.
The last point I want to make is that all of this is equally important to you. How you communicate with yourself matters. The question I will leave you with is “What mindset does the communication I have with myself usually create?” Take some time to reflect on this and understand how you can make sure that your inner dialogue is creating the mindset you want it to.
Thank you for reading.