Well, our little internal stories about other people show up in every part of what we do, when we’re around that other person.
Not just the words but the body language, the facial expressions, the eye contact…
It all “leaks” hints about our feelings towards them – even when we are trying to be really “professional”.
You can see what I mean in this video. It’s very short.
Shows me responding in four different ways to a teddy bear that is exactly the same every time:
Watch the video a couple of times. Watch me, and watch the bear. Because the way I behave towards him slightly changes the way he comes across.
(Even though he never moves.)
The effect is much greater when you do this with real human beings – as I do in performances, as a theatrical improviser, and in the workshops I run to help people build better working relationships.
And we’re not the only ones doing it (obviously).
Apart from, say, the Dalai Lama and a handful of others, everybody else is doing this too.
Right now, somebody somewhere is making up stories about YOU.
And that can be quite painful.
It’s also the main reason working relationships fail.
Which has a bad effect on internal communications…
…leading (almost inevitably) to poor communication externally.
What to do?
Well, you can’t change what other people think about you.
But you can change the way you think about them.
As a result, you can change your behaviour towards them. And doing that may change the way they show up.
So, what stories are you making up about other people? And how is that affecting your relationship?