When people are engaged in conversation, a lot is going on in their brains, so much in fact, that Jacy Imilkowski, a communications coach, described the activity as chemical cocktail.
Jacy spoke to the Waunakee Rotary Club at the Nov. 16 meeting about conversation and how it can bring people together or divide them.
She recalled when she showed up to a seminar on communication coaching, and was asked, “What’s you’re biggest dream?”
The person who asked her was open to her answer and empathetic. At first, she didn’t know how to answer and then she burst into tears and blurted out, “I want to be a speaker and advocate for victims of domestic abuse and speak at the United Nations.”
When she asked the club members what they wanted for their community, the answers were “safety,” “trust,” “togetherness,” and “connection.”
All of those, she said, can be impacted by conversation.
The way people talk to us and our reactions release a number of chemicals in the brain – cortisol, which is linked to stress and arousal, and oxytocin, which leads to space and connection.
When we don’t trust what the person is saying or our emotions distract us, that creates cortisol, she said.
Words, she said, can create worlds.
She had club members to pair off to demonstrate three different types of conversation. In the first, the ask-tell example, the members asked each other questions and told each other about their favorite animals.
That allowed the members to exchange information.
The other, the advocate and inquire, was more positional. Each member was asked to tell his or partner why their favorite animal was better than the other’s.
The final, the share and discover, had the pairs trying to imagine what the animal would be if it were a combination of each of their favorites. It invited more collaboration as they shared.
In a good conversation, each person shares information evenly. When one takes over the conversation and tries to sell, it creates stress.
Also stressful is the “addicted-to-right” conversant, where one person tries to prove the other is wrong.
The share-and-discover conversation allows both to build new things.
If you’re having a conversation with someone and something feels off, Jacy advised examining why. Are you talking to much? Are you sharing?
She said for her, the right conversation changed her life, and she pursued her dream of communication coaching. She still dreams of talking to the United Nations, she said.
Other news:
-David Weishoff said a major push will be needed to get the lights up at the park Saturday for the Rotary In Lights display. Club members are out each morning working on the lights.
-A group of about 45 Rotarians in the Group 6 Social toured Nord Gear Nov. 15. Thanks to Jim Kattner for setting this up.
-A big thank you to Chris Kenney for help syncing the radio broadcast for the Rotary in Lights.
-Rotarians still have time to participate in the Adopt-A-Family and the Christmas meals programs.
-Help is needed greeting at the Rotary in Lights display. Talk to Bob Pulvermacher.
-Help is needed with the ethics program Dec. 7-8.
-The senior Thanksgiving breakfast is Saturday, Dec. 18. Let Ed Niebuhr know if you can help out.
Guests: Dan Endres, guest of the club.
Birthdays: Nov. 30, Susan Vergeront; Dec. 6, Bud Zander.
Anniversaries: Dec. 3, Jim and Kathy Kattner; Dec. 4, Shana and Anthony Dunn.
Greeters: Nov. 30, Corey Randl and Thomas Roepke; Dec. 7, Bob Sachtjen and Todd Schmidt; Dec. 14, Jim Schmitz and Phil Simon; Dec. 21, Dan Statz and Harriet Statz.