What makes strangers connect or not? 

An interesting article recently appeared on BBC.com: What makes strangers click?

It is a well-known principle of psychology that we like those who are most like ourselves.  In this article the work of Columbia University psychologist Maya Rossignac-Milon is discussed.  She asserts there is a second factor; it is not just with whom we’re talking – but what we’re talking about.  The secret of good relationships is to try and make sense of the world together. She believes successful relationships develop a shared reality.  Rossignac-Milon has found evidence that people who experience more shared reality with their partner also feel more committed to each other. Indeed, on the days when couples experience more of this cognitive merging, they also feel emotionally closer.

The article then goes on to discuss a variety of experiments about the concept and is worth reading.  In essence, the theory of shared reality suggests that we are most likely to feel closer to each other when we turn our mutual attention to something beyond ourselves.  Prior to COVID it used to be overseas trips recently taken or planned.  Now it in my peer group it is new programs on Netflix or books you have been reading.  The shared reality model also explains why workplace teams like to go to conferences and trade fairs or have away days; getting out of the office enables colleagues to make sense of a new environment together, cementing relationships in the process.

However, being able to understand with whom you are unlikely to connect is also useful.  While we can understand how people of different political or religious persuasions might not connect, if you understand the 7MTF model you have a good idea of people with whom you will have personality dissonance.  Most of us have two strong, three average and two weak 7MTF components.  You can suffer personality dissonance with someone whose strong 7MTF components are the same as your weak 7MTF components.   For example, my two weakest 7MTF components are the Artist and Doublechecker.  If I meet someone who is strong in either of these two components, I know I have to change my behaviour and not act naturally.

Understanding Personality Dissonance is very important when you are in person-to-persons interactions such as sales or management.  My current project for 2020 is to convert my intellectual property to online courses.  I am two-thirds of the way there having completed the Introduction to the 7MTF and Practical EQ for Salespeople courses, with only the Practical EQ for Managers and Leaders left to complete.  In Practical EQ for Salespeople course I have devoted one lesson to Personality Dissonance.  You can watch the first lecture in this lesson here.

My core belief is that “People Drive Performance, Emotions Drive People; Temperament Drives Emotions”.  If you want to lift your emotional intelligence you need to use a model of temperament that is practical, easy-to-use, and scientifically valid.

The model of temperament I like is the 7MTF.  If you want to learn more about the 7MTF watch this short 4-minute explainer video.  If that awakens your appetite to lift your EQ this online-video course: Introduction to Practical Emotional Intelligence: The 7MTF is now available.

This article was published on LinkedIn on 11 October 2020




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Chris Golis - Author


"Put in a sales perspective, I loved your presentation! I got a lot from what you talked about and I will read your book."

Peter Morris, Executive Officer, Lomax Financial Group

Your presentation on 'Lifting your Level of Emotional Intelligence" to 10 CEOs scored an average 8.9 out of 10 for the topic and 8.5 for the presentation which is great. A couple of the attendees gave you a 10 out of 10, and the comments were:

- Great presentation. Very informative.

- Excellent presentation.

- made me think.

Christi Spring CEO Institute. - web www.ceo.com.au.