Conversational Blindness

I often see folks in mediation dodging a question they would rather not answer. I’m frequently surprised that they are not picked up on it and get away with shepherding the conversation to safer ground.

A recent Harvard study, Conversational Blindness: Answering the Wrong Question the Right Way by Todd Rogers and Michael Norton found;

>Conversational blindness occurs in part because real-world conversations occur as a continuous ebb and flow, leaving little time for people to reflect on how every statement links to each previous statement.

A successful dodge occurs when a speaker’s answer to the wrong question is so compelling that the listener both forgets the right one, and rates the dodger positively. In some cases, speakers end up better off by answering the wrong question well rather than the right question poorly.

[full research paper here]

                        author

Geoff Sharp

Geoff Sharp is a Commercial Mediator from Wellington, New Zealand. Geoff works in the Asia Pacific region, including New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Pacific Islands. He is a mediator resolving business problems. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and mediates complex and hotly debated litigation covering… MORE >

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