Try This Simple Technique – A Smile Is A Curve That Puts A Lot Of Things Straight !

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Posted by: Sue Atkins







I was reading an article on LinkedIn by Jonathan Phelan a Wellbeing & Resilience author & speaker who was listening to a fascinating programme on Radio 4 about communication.

The interviewee reflected on how she trained police negotiators.

One point she made was particularly insightful.

When a police negotiator starts a hostage negotiation with “Can we talk?” the reaction is normally “no” and the phone call is abruptly disconnected.

Unlike normal life where we can move on from a difficult conversation, the police negotiator has to keep plugging away; sometimes for several hours.

After much analysis of what works, it turns out that “Can we speak?” is hugely more successful in starting a conversation and maintaining it.

No-one knows why. But apparently that’s what the data says.

Different approach to the same problem.

Who would have thought that a slight nudge in a conversation would have such a massive impact.

So, this got me thinking  about parenting teenagers.

They can often put up a barrier between you as they strive for more independence & autonomy but what if you build a bridge of more open communication by simply asking a better question ?

‘Can we talk?’

Perhaps with a smile, a positive tone of voice & open body language you may just change the way you connect & it will help you keep the lines of communication going between you.

Look for simple ways to stay connected.

Over dinner, over a car journey, over a shopping trip or a school pick up.

Teenagers may act exasperated but beneath the bravado they long for & need connection with you.

The teenage years are full of self doubt, struggle, stress & fitting in as well as exploring, discovering & finding their feet.

Then don’t mess up the communication by negatively nagging – create the space for connecting with them by having that simple intention – to reach out.

Remember a smile is a curve that puts a lot of things straight !

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