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The interest in the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 in the United States has been unprecedented.
And it has implications for how you see the world, and how groups work together.
According to NASA, when the Moon moves in front of the Sun on Aug. 21, it will completely obscure the Sun’s bright face in many parts of the United States. This happens because of a “celestial coincidence” - though the Sun is about 400 times wider than the Moon, the Moon on Aug. 21 becomes about 400 times closer to us, making their apparent size in the sky almost equal. In fact, the Moon will appear slightly larger than the Sun to us, allowing it to totally obscure the Sun for more than two and a half minutes in some locations. If they had the exact same apparent size, the total eclipse would only last for an instant.
The “celestial coincidence” that causes the much smaller moon to eclipse the much larger sun happens on a-daily-basis in your, and my, mind. Your mental model, or mental moon - because of its proximity to us - is able to block our view of larger facts, or situations, out there, causing a total eclipse of those facts to our eyes.
You cannot see what is actually out there if your mental moon (or model) is in the way. And your mental model will always be in the way unless you become very aware of its existence and deliberately moves it to the side so you can see clearly.
Currently in the United States, Republicans and Democrats are two groups that seem to be looking at situations, facts, and “alternate facts”, through their mental moons, unable to grasp how can the other side possibly see and believe in something different from what they see.
The various groups, cultures, and nations of the Middle East have been in this position for years, if not centuries – each group unable to see their situation without the mental models of fear, mistrust, antagonism, and historic hatred. The Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's groundbreaking trip to Israel in 1977, the 1978 Camp David Accords, and the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, all happened because of deliberate acts of breaking individual and group mental models, causing a fundamental shift in the politics of the region at the time.
As a training company, we at HumaNext have long been interested in developing training and processes that help create mutual understanding between people, groups, and cultures. The situations in the United States, the Middle East, Europe, and the world cry for more work in this challenging and crucial field.
The process of making people aware of the existence, and influence, of their mental models is a crucial part of the training we are introducing in our new “AGREE!” program. AGREE stands for “Advancing Group Relations Effectiveness Events”. AGREE! is an “Action / Learning” type of training or working event that brings different, often opposing, groups together to examine their assumptions and interests with the purpose of clarifying intentions, building trust, improving relations, and reaching agreement.
This type of training / action-learning can have many valuable applications at work, including:
- Labor-management relations and negotiations
- Inter-departmental relations
- Improving relations in merger and acquisition situations
- Conflict resolution between groups, functions, cultures
We believe that this program goes beyond traditional conflict resolution training by integrating the latest concepts and techniques from fields like emotional intelligence, positive psychology, neuroscience, personality studies, communications, negotiations, and diplomacy.
From Critical Conversations
How to Ask Questions to Get the Results You Want
In delivering communication skills training workshops to various groups over the past fifteen years, I came to depend on the following funny story to illustrate how the way people ask a question can determine the answers they get. I labeled this questioning technique, "The Monk's Method."
Two monks were praying, walking and talking as they do all day long. The junior monk said to the senior monk. "I'm surprised you're allowed to smoke while walking around and praying here in the monastery my dear brother. When I joined the monastery I asked our Head Monk about smoking and his answer was a resounding no. How come you are able to smoke with no problem? The senior monk smiled and said, "Am I right to assume, my dear brother, that you asked the Head Monk whether it was alright for you to smoke while praying? "Yes," said the junior monk. "I asked him whether it was alright for me to smoke while praying, and he looked at me disapprovingly and said, "Of course not. I'm surprised you would even ask."
"Ah!," exclaimed the senior monk. "You didn't know how to ask my dear brother. It all depends on how you put it. When I joined the monastery, I too asked the Head Monk about smoking, but in a slightly different manner. I asked him: "Dear Master, Is it alright for me to pray while smoking?" And he said, "But of course my son. You can pray anytime."
In asking questions, as well as in all other aspects of communication, it's not what you say that counts, but how you say it.
The Monk's Method is part of our "Critical Conversations" workshop. Get certified online to deliver this powerful one day workshop to your employees or clients.
EQ Intelligent Conversations
EQ Intelligent Conversations is a training workshop that applies the latest principles and practices of emotional intelligence (EQ) on the key skill of inter-personal communication to produce intelligent conversations.It is the best of emotional intelligence and communication skills combined in one powerful and exciting training package.
You get everything you need to deliver half a day or one day classroom style workshop, or multiple coaching sessions, on the topics of emotional intelligence and communication skills.
Powerful Communication Skills Programs from HumaNext: How to Talk Best When It Matters Most
Your Meetings Will Never Be the Same, in 10 Minutes!
Learn to Apply Powerful Talking Tools to a Host of Challenging Communication Encounters
Participants learn to apply specific Talking Tools to a host of challenging communication encounters of particularly high stakes and sensitivity. The Talking, Persuading, and Influencing Tools participants learn and practice in this workshop will enable them to achieve decidedly positive results in working with others as they encounter the following TEN difficult communication situations:
No other training program we know of covers all these critical communication situations. This is the most relevant On-Demand, On-the-Job communication training you can offer today, addressing people’s needs for practical Talking Tools to apply in the most challenging encounters they face at work.
How to Talk Best when It Matters Most!
- Off-the-Shelf Trainer's Package or:
- Get certified online to deliver the program unlimited number of times to unlimited number of trainees...
Linking Learning to Current Events: The Solar Eclipse as a Metaphor
How Your Mental Moon Blocks Your Vision
AGREE! (Advancing Group Relations Effectiveness Events) is one day, or a series of meetings / events, using "Action-Training" format.
The workshops / event(s) enable groups to improve relations, resolve conflict, and reach agreements better and faster.
Groups that seek better relations, and those desiring to reach agreements with others, can benefit from these structured sessions (events) by learning and applying techniques for conflict resolution, win-win negotiations, and cross-function skills.
Option 2: Purchase the Off-the-Shelf Package without certification if you feel you can deliver the workshop without learning it online
Most communication training programs offer general information about the communication process, model, and principles. While participants may become more aware of the importance of good communication, they are left in dire need for specific ways to deal with real, tough, day-to-day communication encounters at work.
This unique workshop focuses on the specific application of powerful communication and influencing tools to the most critical, sensitive, and challenging fact-to-face encounters managers and staff are confronted with everyday at work.
The workshop equips participants with invaluable skills and provides them with the following benefits:
A six-month program of practical meeting boosters for department and team meetings, learn at lunch sessions, and all other meetins.
This program delivers a flow of tools, tactics, and activities that can transform the way you and your team meet, work, relate, and communicate on the job.
Activities are designed for fast application of concepts and techniques to take about ten minutes of your meetings. Some activities will need to be learned during the meeting and then applied later on-the-job for significantly improving performance.
Explore All HumaNext Communication Training Programs