Crucial Talks Episode 11 Use Identity to Build Relationships: Christmas Presents, Presence, and Snickers Bars
In this episode, I tell a story of going to buy my wife a Christmas present. It started as a clear in-group/out-group matchup between the sales associate and me. However, I pivoted. I became present in the moment and began to think about the identities that the sales associate played in her life. That allowed me to gain empathy. Because of that empathy, I communicated in a way that brought us into the same group. I also found a way to become an ally and not build trust. I didn't expect a discount, I merely wanted to see if we could develop a short-term relationship based on a shared identity. We did and I was able to transition from a "customer" to an ally. This encounter lasted mere minutes, but shows the power of using identity and the roles we play to understand others and understand the world around us.