We have a negativity bias in our brains. This simply means we are more wired to review, and remember negative outcomes. We all know this is true, just do a presentation and have 3 people say it was great, and one person trash it and you obsess over the one person.
But what can sometimes happen is that because of this, we are more likely to create an obstacle to movement rather than capitalizing on movement.
I’ll give you an example.
Let’s say you have a new idea, a new proposal, or some great new shift in your industry. This is a good thing, and a needed thing and you bring it to your supervisor, your spouse, or whomever else. You sense some reluctance; you sense some hesitation, you sense things aren’t going well. Then you say the psychologically worst possible thing: “Well why don’t you think this will work?”
And here is why this is a bad question. It primes people for negative responses. It actually causes people to think of more reasons than they currently have for what is wrong with your idea. It actually starts to gain speed in their brain, and weight for all the reasons your idea is a bad idea, and solidify it before it’s even had a chance to be processed. And once people have staked out an opinion or position it is really hard to shift.
Maybe you’ve seen this happen.
Maybe this has happened to you in a meeting.
Maybe you’re guessing now why your last pitch floundered.
So what’s a better question or way to go?
- What if this works how would that change things?
- What are some good reasons this is something to try to figure out?
- How might this change things positively if it worked?
Push the positive, and let their brains do the rest. It might just help you create some new movement and new initiatives!