Six Degrees Of Conversation

That one client just didn’t seem to get it. They were annoyed by you and you were annoyed by them. You both didn’t see eye to eye. What went wrong?

Well, it might have to do with the fact that one or both of you weren’t remembering the 6 people in every interaction.

Really, 6? Yes, and they are:

  1. You
  2. The other person
  3. How you see yourself
  4. How the other person sees themselves
  5. How you see the other person
  6. How the other person sees you

These 6 aspects of thought are present in every interaction we have. When we lose sight of 1 or more, it creates disagreements where neither party understands the other’s point of view and damages the relationship.

If you want to better understand the path of a conversation and how it made you feel, you can try a technique called the left-hand margin. Coined by Peter Senge, the left-hand margin is about noting what the other person said in the left-hand margin of a document. Then you note how that made you feel.

By doing this, you get the opportunity to become more self-aware of how you felt during a conversation, and make adjustments based on your learning.

Here’s a resource to learn more about how the 6 people affect your conversations. Give it a try the next time you talk to a client or colleague. The more you’re aware of “everyone else” in the room, the better your interactions will become.

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