Too often I come across in discussions where the listener does not accept a view point from a person but accepts the same point when someone else says it.
Example: There is a conversation in the team about ‘Is September a good time to travel to coorg’? Novi says strongly that it is generally misty and rains a bit but not to the extent to spoil a good vacation. The others in the team quickly look up weather patterns in the internet and conclude what Novi said is not right, it is not easy to travel in rains to hill stations. Novi tries hard to convince about the previous visits but no one is in the mood to listen. At this point Ivon an avid traveller enters, looks at the argument and says Novi is right, it is a good time to travel. No one refutes, they agree to Ivon.
Why did they agree to Ivon but not Novi when both of them are saying the same thing?
Dave Gray explains in his work ‘Liminal Thinking‘ that we carry a lot of beliefs from what we observe from our experiences; we then keep validating that our beliefs are right by choosing only the relevant data from experiences that will validate our beliefs again and again in a vicious cycle. This vicious cycle creates a shortcut in our brains so that we directly map the experiences without a conscious thought to conclusions. The example I had given about Ivon and Novi are very small in impact compared to what we encounter every day.
What we perceive as ‘I am saying that the same thing as the other person, but they trust the other person’ is nothing but people’s mental model about us is different as they do not know what our experience has been. This is the reason that more the people in a group are willing to understand each other’s experiences and talk out loud about their beliefs and assumptions, the better they communicate.
The video below is a nice explanation on why our experiences shape our beliefs. The narrower our experiences are, the narrower our beliefs will be. If we are not able to communicate right, first we should expose our experience; no one will buy our beliefs. If we need to understand someone better, we should have had similar experiences that have created their beliefs or we should be exposed to their experiences by suspending our judgements.