Staying Focused in Conversations - NLP Article

The following post was written in 1998 about someone who described being so involved in their own internal and external dialogue that other people simply faded away -- and this prevented them being able to sustain any calibration efforts towards other people in conversation.

I know someone who did something similar, who asked me to help with this in normal conversation! So I paid close attention to him and I found that his accesses were turning straight into dreamland. I didn't know what I'd do that would work, so I just started playing. I'd wait until he had finished accessing, and then started talking, then I'd reach out with my hand(s) into his access space and draw his eyes right back to center (towards me).

At first it was an interrupt he got amused/annoyed at concurrently, so he'd lose his place because he was laughing a little. After the laughter subsided, and my interrupts continued through the conversation we were having, we both found he was able to sensitize himself to the interrupt that was more internal than external. He let his eyes come back to center after they'd been "captured" by my nonverbal interrupt, but he'd keep talking (as I'd asked him to do). And upon reconnecting with my eyes, he found he was more responsive to MY reactions to what he was saying.

After we had that down, I suggested he WAIT to speak, until after he'd regained eye contact with me. That was a little difficult at first, but he made fast progress (and really enjoyed the process of gaining more understanding of his own processes and how he COULD adjust them with only a little bit of work).

I saw my friend 2 weeks later, & he'd reverted ROUGHLY halfway back to his prior behavior but had NOT gone back to his previous level of disconnection. Even so, he said people were responding to him very differently. So, a couple of additional minutes with those interrupts and he was re-engaged in the conversation consistently! So we future-paced it, and then meta-future-paced it, and laughed like crazy the whole time.

Such simple adjustments, such profound changes!


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