Many conversations have two jobs—
1.) to accomplish a task, and
2.) to take care of the relationship between the speakers.
We tend to focus, almost exclusively, on one or the other.
If you are talking to someone in order to get your problem solved, you’re focusing on a task. The intention to get my problem solved will dictate the words you use, your tone of voice, how you sit and stand, how you move in the room, when and how often you speak.
On the other hand, if you come into the room wanting to let your colleague know that you’re on her side, that intention will generate pretty different vocal tones, placement in the room, cadence of speech, and movement of your body.
This shows up most starkly when we focus on the task at the expense of the relationship. For example, if we need to get through the agenda (task), what might that look like? What behaviors show up?
What might we miss or compromise in our laser-focused pursuit of getting the task done?