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Are Your Friends & Family Brainwashed?

This morning I had the privilege of attending David Charalambous’ Zoom presentation on Reaching People.  The presentation was packed with useful information from a broad perspective.  Absolute gold, especially for learning to communicate with the skills, knowledge and appropriate mindset, with those who have been polarised (as we all have), and manage objections from a respectful, empathic and compassionate perspective that builds on our shared humanity. 

David was affirming, enlightening and informative, essential for all of us who are trying to bring awareness of what has been done to us by those we trusted.  I took six sides of A4 notes and there is no way I can do justice to everything he said so I shall give you an overview.

David is a psychologist with a consulting and health background who has developed, with other experts, a communication model that includes NLP, social dynamic theory, group psychology, various psychological approaches, behavioural economics, Game Theory and Donna Hick’s book Dignity, as well as debating techniques.  The project is for those of us who wish to challenge an idea, belief or narrative with another person.

We looked at several elements of the project that will resonate with most of us since March 2020, like: “Why are facts, reason and logic not working?”  The advice is not to respond with the same energy as we are faced with.  Rather than become more combative and badger people with facts, we need to cultivate empathy and reassurance in order to break through the anger that someone may be presenting to us.  The example given was of an evangelical preacher and how people dismiss and don’t listen to him/her.

David showed how the government’s media’s strategy has been to present us with a double bind of “get the jab or die.”  Therefore, anyone questioning the narrative or not complying is labelled an anti-vaxxer.  So, the challenge is how to reach people without falling into this divisive polarity by affirming our shared humanity and experiences.

David then proceeded to unpack the project’s approach through:

  • understanding the manipulation;
  • how people absorb information;
  • how to navigate conditioning;
  • knowledge of the subject matter;
  • resolve blocks to communication and types of dynamics and orientation.

We learnt of the government’s Behavioural Insights Team, the Nudge Continuum and the Mindspace project.  It clarified the territory of mind games and fear that we have been subjected to since March 2020 and what a powerful mix it is that we are up against.  Yes, we need to unscramble people’s mindsets and these are brilliant strategies to do so.

Navigating resistance’ was a particularly useful section: we need to learn this to avoid our information being dismissed.  We learnt how, as human beings, we are hard-wired to prefer stories and metaphor to convey information rather than taking in a load of facts.

The four core elements of this approach are:

  • avoid triggering the other person;
  • use cooperation rather than opposition;
  • cultivate a calm mindset and honour the other person’s dignity rather than violating them.

David’s advice is to practise the model and it becomes easier.  I felt really empowered and affirmed by this possibility of communicating effectively and shall be joining the project’s Tuesday’s weekly sessions.

You can access the Reaching People project through the following links:

DOs and DON’Ts in conversation

The Script Book

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