Happy Monday! Lynne here.
I was part of a classroom demo in a Social Psychology class in college (St. Mary’s College of Maryland class of 1993! Go Seahawks!) once where the professor had me and a male classmate get up in front of the class and just talk to each other for like a minute. After making forced small talk for a little bit, she let us sit down, and she explained to the class that she wanted to test a theory about power in conversation, and the theory is this: when 2 people are talking, the person who feels the most powerful out of the 2 will look directly at the other person when they themselves are talking because they are so sure of what they are saying and want the other person to hear every word. But when the other person is talking, though, the more powerful person will look away, as if they don’t really need to hear what’s being said. Rude, hey? And what I remember is that my professor told us that it when there are a man and a woman in the conversation, the man is the sure-of-himself and not-so-interested-in-what-the-other-is-saying, and the woman is the person who feels less powerful and will look at their associate as the other person talks, as if that person’s words are gold, but look away when they themselves are talking, as if they doubt the validity of their words. And I also remember that in the staged conversation for class, that I was the one deemed the most powerful. Hee.
So, things have changed a bit over the years.
Now, I think that it would be wonderful if both people in a conversation would listen to each other, each feeling equally powerful to the other and feeling like there is give and take and such. But I have realized, though, that as much as I talk, which is a whole heck of a bunch, I was sometimes not so sure of what I am saying, and it’s usually when people are asking me about my plans, or my new business. You know, things that I know about. I find myself looking up in the air and avoiding the other person’s eyes, like I was searching for the words off of the ceiling or something. And it made me remember that experiment in college, but the difference is that nobody else is doubting my power, or my words, or thinking that what I am saying isn’t important. Nope. I was the one doing that to myself, and that’s sad, especially when it’s something about me, a subject that I should know a lot about, and I am realizing why. It’s that when I couldn’t look people right in the face and tell them about what I have going on, it’s that I was doubting the validity of my own dreams, of my own plans, and of me having the right to do the thing that I am doing. And I am deciding that I am not going to do that anymore, because if I don’t believe what I am saying, how the heck am I supposed to make other people believe me? Because I am quite good at what I do in business, darn it. I am prepared for this, and my dreams and plans have meaning. I am gonna work the heck out of them, and I am going to stop diluting my own power by believing what I say, looking people straight in the face, and going from there. I have been doing that, and darn it, it feels great.
Believe your own dream, my friends. And tell people about it. And see what happens.