Dec 05, 2016 | 3
Minute Read

How to Break Down Mental Walls for More Effective Conversations


Convert Debate Into Dialogue

The uncertainty and high tensions of our world and political landscape have made us emotionally raw. Everywhere you turn it feels like your fundamental beliefs are under attack and for some even your very existence as a human being.

And now we are going into the holidays with many gatherings where you have to interact with those who have opposing views and beliefs to yours. How do you have more effective conversations with friends, family and coworkers when argumentative and verbally aggressive statements are bound to happen?

First, let’s talk about why we feel so threatened by these kinds of aggressive statements. In the latest episode of Science of Self® in 60 Seconds, Convert Debate Into Dialogue, Dr. Ron Bonnstetter explains how the brain sees a verbal attack in a very similar manner to a physical attack. Your brain immediately goes into a heightened alert that shuts down thoughtful executive function.


You vs. Me Debate

Once your executive function shuts down, logical thinking is no longer available to your brain. You become strictly driven by emotions. Can you begin to see how these emotional, knee-jerk responses hamper the possibility of more effective conversations with those around you?

When you feel like your conversation has become a you vs. me debate, mental walls go up. Shutting out the other person is your brain’s defense mechanism. Our brain reacts at such high speed and intensity to words and actions that it perceives as a You-Me debate (or as a verbal attack) that a conversation may never move past the initial reactions.

How do you convert debate into dialogue?


We Mentality Leads to More Effective Conversations

Now that you know why You-Me conversations create walls, we need to know how to break down those mental walls. Creating a We mentality in your communication is what starts to build trust. Dr. Bonnstetter shares three ways in the latest Science of Self video to help you foster a We mentality that breaks mental walls down and allows for more effective conversations.

You can also become more aware of how others perceive your words and actions. Every person has certain words and actions, based on their behavioral style and driving forces, that evokes a precognitive negative reaction in the brain. When you know more about what triggers your own mental walls, you will recognize it in others and can begin to diffuse the situation to build trust and a We mentality.


Know that you can’t change someone else’s views and beliefs. But, you can reframe how you view these interactions. When we learn more about how we impact each other by our words and actions, we take a big step toward success in business and in life.

Make sure to subscribe to the SOS in 60 Seconds channel to receive notification of new episodes. Please feel free to share the SOS in 60 channel and videos with your social networks. We encourage our VAAs and MDs to embed the link to the videos into your client communications - prospect education, newsletters and social channels.


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Jaime Faulkner