30 Jul 2008

SAVED by the WIG at a cocktail party

Posted by paulandrew

Picture this scene: I’m at a party and I meet somebody who works for a company with a technology product. I am familiar with her field and I guess the product – well, her competitor’s product – and she quickly corrects me.

Then comes the question: “Why don’t you use it?” I hem and haw about this but she assures me that she wants to know: “no really just tell me.”

And so I (foolishly) fess up. “Well a good friend of mine who is in the field of psychology tells me that the jury is still out in the research world regarding the efficacy of this product.”

She’s not so happy to hear this. Not happy at all. “Look this product works. We have several universities who are working with us to use the product. They’re not light weights. I don’t need to wait for some researcher to tell me what works. I can see that the product works in the field.”

Thankfully I had enough distance from this interaction to see that I had entered sensitive waters. My guess is that the energetic center of the conversation had shifted from the efficacy of this technology to be of a more personal nature.

And I knew just what to do. The WIG came to my rescue. “So for you, you don’t need the research to know that it works.” And to this she replied with an emphatic “YEAH!”

I think she was expecting me to press my argument, but in my mind we were past the point of being able to have a scientific conversation. And so I just hung in there with WIGs and she got frustrated. “You’re doing it – you’re doing that listening stuff on me!”

I laughed! She continued, “Come on I want to hear what you think.” And I couldn’t help myself at this point and so I left my Supportive Listening mode and said “I already told you what I think and you didn’t like it.” I was laughing pretty hard by then, and it helped shift the energy.

The WIG is an extremely valuable tool for hanging in on a conversation when the speaker is too intense to hear any new information. It helps me to maintain connection while giving time for the speaker’s intensity to work itself out. Only then can we really talk.

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