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The Rewards Can Be Huge

I am amazed at the way humans can be in each other’s company, but not interact. I am not talking about the one off standing in line at Coles situation. I am referring to the consistent cohabitation of space like an academic course or sporting club or a group training class.

It is at my group training class that this concept is reinforced on a regular occasion. Every Monday morning the same people arrive at the workout, doing the same exercises, with the same trainer with no interaction. The silence is deafening. If it was not for the motivating music, it would feel like exercising in a church at prayer.

Not even a hello, or good morning or how have you been.

Everyone is less than a metre away from you, sweating and grunting and remain total strangers.

In her TED Talk, Psychologist Marisa Franco tells of some research that as humans if we enter any interaction with an “acceptance prophecy” you will bond quicker and enjoy the benefits of connection. The acceptance prophecy is having a mindset that you are liked and worthy of being liked which quashes the alternate of not interacting for fear of rejection. Hence, you have a disposition of acknowledging people after some time of common activity.

So why is this important?

During my lunch break at a school, a stranger said,” Hello, my name is Bob.”

He opened the door to a conversation. I had never met him before.

The only thing we had in common was that we were having lunch at the same time.

The conversation continued and we chatted about his work.

It tuned out that Bob was a Chaplin looking for another school to supplement his workdays preferably close to home. As I work with school’s I was happy to receive his digital details in case I hear of an opportunity.

Three weeks later, during a meeting with a principal she said, “The students are at a loose end since our Chaplin left a few weeks ago.”

I received a message recently from Bob, thanking me for his interview at his new school.

The rewards can be huge from such a simple phrase like, “Hello, my name is Luke.”

Creating a Psychological Safe environment starts with people connecting with others through simple gestures of inclusion like introducing yourself to new people for no other reason than to make them feel welcomed.

And why not? The benefits could be huge.

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