The other day a colleague and friend of mine (Arnold Zeman) posted this video on his blog the other day. It has a great comic figure on it – check it out:
While I realize that this comic only talks about mediators, you and I both know that description fits many groups/people in the Conflict Resolution World. Here’s the part I want to focus on: Big Ears and Little Mouth.
This (to me) is something that we excel at. We are great at listening and we open our mouth long enough to ask a quick question and then we close it again. This is great if you are doing mediation, coaching, peacemaking, etc.
But here is the problem! Little mouths don’t spread the word of your field. Sure there are a few people in all of our fields that are outspoken and letting the general public know about us, but guess who is getting those cases? Yep! The ones with a big mouth! We need to start piping in to those conversations, tell people what your field is about, tell people why you chose this line of work, tell anyone that will listen about the benefits of Conflict Resolution! But don’t just blast them with your ‘elevator speech’ instead start building a relationship with them. Take a genuine interest in who they are and begin to form a new relationship, a new contact.
Here’s your challenge for this week: Go to an event this week and talk to at least one person you don’t know. Listen to them and then open your mouth and strike up a conversation. Tell them about yourself, what you do, who you are, and strike up a new relationship. Then follow up with them the week after. Let me know how it goes!