Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Even More Trader Principle Progress

As a follow up to last week's post, I just overheard the following exchange:

Morgan: "But, remember? I shared my modeling clay with you! Don't you think I can try?" (I have no idea what it is of his that she wants to try.)

Ryan: "Well, yeah you shared your clay with me, but this is different."

Morgan: "Why?"

Ryan, stumped:  . . .

I hated to intervene, but they seemed to be at an impasse, and because I know that sometimes he triumphs in disagreements out of perseverance, and because I thought Morgan had an excellent point, I said, not turning around from my desk:

"So it sounds like Morgan wants to borrow something and she is reminding Ryan of a time when she shared modeling clay with him." (all in the third person)

Morgan: "Yes. Ryan I am reminding you of when I shared my modeling clay." (somewhat copying the words I offered her)

Ryan: "Well that's a good point. Let me think it over."

Okay, so he didn't agree (yet?), but he conceded the point and at least agreed to think it over. In the meantime, Morgan got on the computer and appears to have forgotten the matter. But still: progress!


Hanah said...

This is really interesting, and I'm glad it worked. I'm curious about your intervention, though, because it just seems like a weird and unnatural thing to do. You joined the conversation without turning around and facing the people you were talking to. You narrated what was happening as if you were explaining it to a third party instead of to the participants in the situation. Do you speak this way frequently? Is there a theory behind it?

Jenn Casey said...

Good question. I'm glad you asked, because I guess it does seem weird! It's not unnatural, because I do this quite a bit.

Sometimes just a statement about what you are observing is a great way to send a message without starting up a big argument or putting people on the defensive.

So "I see a wet towel on the bathroom floor." is often more than sufficient to jog someone's memory, and it's less likely to invite a battle than "Why did you leave a wet towel on the floor?"

I do the observation thing a lot, and that's what I did yesterday. I didn't want to turn around and face them because that invites Ryan to try to get me more involved in the disagreement, and I thought by his tone that he would do that.

So by just making my observation Greek Chorus style and without getting involved too much in their discussion, I helped Morgan gain some words that she then used to support her argument. Knowing what to say and having enough energy to continue the discussion are the things M needs help with most.

Ryan needs help with listening to Morgan's point of view (even if she hadn't re-used my words, my saying her POV is a way for him to hear her message) and would have gladly changed from a battle with Morgan to a battle with me.

And I needed to help them both without getting sucked in.

So it was kind of a WIN-WIN-WIN!