How to Talk To People You Disagree With featuring Robin Dreeke

Oct. 12, 2020

How to Talk To People You Disagree With featuring Robin Dreeke

How to Talk To People You Disagree With featuring Robin Dreeke

“You have all these different ways of communicating, and basically it’s understanding the context of the individual and why they have that context. I tell you, I think the best de-escalator of all situations is having non-judgmental curiosity.” - Robin Dreeke 

You may remember a very popular past guest of Brave By Design, Robin Dreeke, who was here earlier this year to discuss how to trust people and build healthy relationships. I’m happy to have him back today to dive even deeper into this topic, which I think is particularly important during this current US election cycle. Robin has spent a lot of time talking with people who don’t agree with each other, and in the process he has learned to work with them, which is why I think I think he’s the ideal person to be giving his thoughts to us. 

Robin Dreeke is a best-selling author, professional speaker, trainer, facilitator, and retired FBI Special Agent and Chief of the Counterintelligence Behavioral Analysis Program. Robin has taken his life's work of recruiting spies and broken down the art of leadership, communication, and relationship building into Five Steps to TRUST and Six Signs of who you can TRUST.

I love following Robin’s content on social media, and we especially need his level-headed, reasonable and insightful commentary now more than ever. 

Connect with Robin: https://www.peopleformula.com/

Connect with Laura Khalil online:

instagram.com/iambravebydesign

linkedIn.com/in/LauraKhalil

Learn the five habits that help women rise:

http://bravebydesign.net/fivehabits 

Invite Laura to speak at your live or virtual event http://bravebydesign.net

What You’ll Hear In This Episode: 

  • When he feels things shifted in the world, and the impact that a 24-hour news cycle has had on us as a society [3:41]

  • Robin’s background in working with people, and some of the big lessons he has taken from his experiences [6:36]

  • What he feels is the best way to de-escalate any situation, plus the dangerous impact of negative emotions on healthy relationships [9:29]

  • The 4 things to say and do to shift every conversation you have from focusing on you, to focusing on the other person [13:00]

  • Why Robin believes that self-awareness is the true key to success in life [21:16]

  • How to talk to someone who shuts down around the issues that exist with race, and to encourage them to keep having the conversation [28:14]

  • The ways that understanding each other’s definitions and language can help us adapt in these challenging and fast-changing times [37:10]
     

Additional Links & Resources:

Robin’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube

His Videos & Podcasts 

All of Robin’s Books 

His Previous Appearance on Brave By Design

Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/bravebydesign)

Transcript
Robin Dreeke:

have all these different ways of communication and basically it's understanding the context of the individual, and why they have that context that I tell you. I think the best D escalator of all situations is having non judgmental curiosity.

Laura Khalil:

Welcome to brave by design. I'm your host, Laura Khalil. I'm an entrepreneur, coach and speaker. I love thinking bait, exploring the power of personal development and sharing the best strategies from thought leaders and pioneers in business to empower ambitious women and allies to bravely rise and thrive. Let's get started. Everyone, welcome to this episode of brave by design, I am so excited to bring back one of our most popular guests. You may remember Robin Drake, he came on a few episodes ago, he's the best selling author of the book sizing people up, which we discussed, which is how to learn how to trust people how to build healthy relationships. And today, we're going to actually be diving into how to have conversations and how to deal with people that you don't agree with during this election cycle. But let me tell you a little bit more about Robin. First, he's a professional speaker, trainer, facilitator, and retired FBI Special Agent in chief of the counter intelligence behavioral analysis program, Robin has taken his life's work of recruiting spies, and teaches the art of leadership, communication and relationship building. He is the founder of people formula, which offers training focused on achieving your goals, building the relationships you need, and predicting who you can trust. Robin, welcome back to brave fi design.

Robin Dreeke:

Thanks, Laura. And when you read that bio is like, Oh, I want to meet that guy, too. Doesn't sound like me. And we were chatting beforehand, you know, when you read the bio, it sounds really intimidating. But I am like, the least intimidating person, I think on the planet, because I just don't roll like that.

Laura Khalil:

It is I mean, BIOS are kind of funny. I mean, they are meant to sort of like, pop us up a little bit. But one of the things that I really appreciated about you even, you know, after our initial conversation on brave by design is I love following you on LinkedIn, because I think you're always posting really level headed, reasonable and insightful content that we need more than ever. And I was thinking of you, most recently, because people are losing their minds over this election, and everyone feels and I felt like I mean, Robin, you've probably felt this too. But I remember back in 1999, I was a college student. And I remember back then we thought the election of 2000 was going to be the biggest thing that had ever happened. And oh my gosh, it's so high stakes, then 2004, then 2000. And every year it feels like oh my gosh, this is like the biggest thing ever. This is the most stressful election ever. And that just never seems to go away. And the tensions keep getting higher and higher and higher. And people. It feels like everyone's like showing up to a knife fight, or to a gunfight, you know, and he's just like out of control. And so I wanted to bring you on to talk about that, because I figured you've spent a lot of time talking to people who don't agree with each other and learning how to work with them.

Robin Dreeke:

Yeah, and it's fascinating, you brought that up, too. I think it's a great lead into one of the things I've mentioned numerous times, about why the world is the way it is now compared to when I grew up, you know, when I grew up in the 70s. And then 80s, in high school, you know, this wasn't the same. And really, it shifted when cable came out. And they had cnn created the first 24 hour news cycle and they had to fill airtime with that would would attract numbers so they could sell ad space. And so I mean, think about how people would think about the current political situation, if all you got your information from was from a 30 minute newscast at night, which didn't have commercials, because back in the day news was boring, because they were just reporting the facts, ma'am.

Unknown:

Imagine that Robin,

Robin Dreeke:

and they didn't have and so it didn't attract a whole lot of viewers. So it didn't sell ad space. And the rest of it came from newspapers. And then our milk cartons had the missing child on it. That was it. You know, after that was word of mouth. I mean, I remember is because, you know, we'll get into this later. I know. Because I think back when I was growing up. I was in elementary school when President Nixon was president. And then I had no idea why President Ford became president and then Jimmy Carter. You know, we can obviously you know, if you grew up in the 70s we remember large oil and gas lines because the oil embargo. We had the Iran Contra affair Iran hostage situation. I mean, contra affair was in the 80s. But we had all these events, which were catastrophic. You know if that happened today, but I was pretty happy kid. I mean, it didn't you know, because what do we have we had good relationships, we had good friends, we played outside, kind of like we're doing now during COVID. Because, you know, everyone's outside because we get really bored being inside. But it's a really fascinating, you know, timeframe. So we, you know, we lived in a time where it didn't impact us the same way because our exposure to media wasn't the same. And I really think that it's the biggest election of all our lifetimes happens every year will every four years, especially because of, you know, the media. So I think that's definitely part of it. It's part of a whole, not the entire, obviously, but it's definitely part of the whole.

Laura Khalil:

Yeah, it does feel like that. And I could not agree with you more that the 24 hour news cycle needs to constantly be fed. And that is creating a lot of the challenges we're facing. And we're seeing whether you're on Facebook, or whether you're talking to family, people, they can't even have a discussion. Like you can't even get the words out. before you're you're hit with something or, or you're saying something really inflammatory. And ramen, I just want to like, before we get into like how to deal with this, I want to talk a little bit about your career, because I'm sure you have dealt with people and work with people who had wildly different goals to United States. And can you just walk us through a situation or a story where it's like, yeah, we didn't agree at all. But somehow we found a way to communicate? You know, it's a great question. And

Robin Dreeke:

you're right. I mean, I worked Russia most of my career. But you know, in reality, I probably worked. I always say about 22 to 24 different countries or nationalities I had to communicate with because every time and when you're working counterintelligence, in the FBI, what happens is, is that, you know, you have your primary goal, which is, you know, countering the threat of national adversaries trying to steal proprietary, you know, information from our companies in our infrastructure to save our company's money. And you know, and protect national security. That's one of the main goals. And one of the ways we do that is we recruit spies. And we also we talk and partner up with companies to help them understand the attack vectors these various folks were using. But what happens also during times of conflict, like when I was in New York, when the Iraq War broke out, right after 911, you know, the job of the FBI is to interview everyone that's ever been affiliated with the country that we're in potential conflict with, in your area of operation. So for me, my gosh, yeah, it's a lot I remember, you know, every time a conflict breaks out anywhere in the world, whether it's declared or undeclared, you know, the FBI is tasked with getting as much ground truth information as possible for decision makers, so you can protect us persons, both domestically and abroad, from threats. And so you know, you have to go start, you know, they pull all the visa applications, they pull all immigrants, they, you know, we get all these data,

Unknown:

every one,

Robin Dreeke:

yeah, for everyone, and you get a list, you know, and they divide that up amongst, you know, a bunch of agents, and you're given a list of hundreds of people that you have to go cold call, wow. And during the cold call, the whole purposes, you know, you have to make a friend and hopefully elicit some information, and hopefully have them want to help, you know, buy my product, which is American patriotism. So it is I always call it you know, you've heard before I call it the toughest sales job in the world. If you go, you know, and I I'm not an opponent of cultural education. But it can be very if you relying on cultural education alone for like taking a two hour block on Afghanistan or Pakistan, or you're on that's not going to give you the information, you need to talk to an individual.

Unknown:

That's interesting.

Robin Dreeke:

And we'll think about it. I mean, can you take can any, I mean, think about this, you know, I've lived in United States my entire life, I've lived in a bunch of different states, I got transferred around to the Marine Corps and FBI. And I am not an expert in New York, where I grew up, South Carolina, North Carolina, or Virginia where I live because there's so many different aspects, nuances, economic status, social status in different areas, demographics, accents, Roger, I mean, just think about the word. You know, when I grew up, you know, I live in Virginia now. So these, what I have on my feet right now are mostly called tennis shoes. When I was in New York, they're called sneakers, they're called running shoes, other places, you know, this, you know, when I was growing up is called a pin hole in the Marine Corps, it's called an ink stick. I mean, it's in the sneakers are called go faster. So I mean, they're much more literal, you know. And so you have all these different ways of communication. And basically, it's the context, understanding the context of the individual, and why they have that context. I tell you, I think the best D escalator of all situations is having non judgmental curiosity. Just seek to understand so they can de escalate and get people emotionally and mentally in a healthier place because negative emotions cloud our judgment, horrendously because at the bedrock of everything in life, It comes down to healthy, good relationships, if you won't use anything and without that, it blows up in those unhealthy emotions. We have cloud our vision to the health around us.

Laura Khalil:

You know, I love that. Did you say non judgmental curiosity? Yes, that is so important. I'm going to add on to that. And I think you may agree, but we'll find out. I think that a lot of times people get tripped up when they go into a difficult discussion, or even a, you know, political discussion or whatever it is. Because they want to be right. Yes. And if I'm going to be right, that means you're wrong. Yes. And then how do you have a conversation? What are you even trying to talk about? What are you trying to prove?

Robin Dreeke:

So I have the thing I love to talk about, and train and teach is never argue context. Because it'll get you nothing, you know, seek to understand the context. So here's a guarantee. So say, my, and I think I said this probably on your show last time, too. If my goal, you know, say you watch CNN and I watch Fox, or you watch Fox, and I watch CNN, we can automatically assume we will never agree on things, you know, that are inflammatory, you know, like politics, people, you know, it's so bias is crazy. And so most of the time, we have this intent, I'm going to tell you what I think. And since we have this incessant need to correct others, we're genetically coded for this, because we're trying to prove ourselves and show our dominance so that we can be accepted by the tribe and be part of the tribe. So I hear your point of view, and I mainly shut you down, negate your thoughts and opinions, don't understand your context. And now feed your mind. The likelihood of you listening is zero. Because I'm making the conversation about myself not about you, the way you flip it, and make the conversation about them. Instead of trying to convince them of my point of view, how can I inspire you to at least listen to my thoughts and opinions have to make it about you. So instead of telling you what I think I'm going to ask you what you think. And so when you share your thoughts and opinions, instead of shutting you down and saying no, here's what I think shields up. I say, Oh, I haven't heard it quite that way before, help me understand. How did you come up with that? Because I'm seeking your thoughts and opinions. Now when I hear your point of view and how you came up with that. Now, here's the key, this is the challenge. You have to be congruent with your words of curiosity and your nonverbals. Also, you can't be sitting there non verbally judging them with squinty eyes. And so instead of telling them what I think the way to inspire them to listen to what I want to share is instead of shutting down, I say now, I'm curious now, what do you think about this? So I asked their thoughts and opinions about the thoughts and opinions I want to do tell them before, the likelihood of them hearing is 100%. Because you're seeking a thought and opinion, you know, I say a million times you don't plant seeds with people by telling them what you think you plant seeds with them by asking them what they think. And if you ask them what they think about your thoughts, that starts with those shields from coming down. Because now you're saying, I regard you I value you. Because if you can do one of these four things and everything you say and do the conversation shift from you to them, and that is you're going to seek their thoughts and opinions, you're going to talk in terms of their priorities, and what's important to them. And here's what's important, everyone, so I always like starting with this as an end goal, realizing that we're all on this planet are genetically coded to seek safety, security and prosperity for ourselves, our loved ones in our families,

Unknown:

no matter where, Mom,

Robin Dreeke:

yes, it's how culture, right how we get there, the means goals to get there. That's where we're gonna diverge. So instead of focusing on the areas where we diverged First, let's all first start with, hey, well, we all want to be safe, secure, and prosperous. That's it. And so let's start with that. And so that's the second thing. And then I'm going to seek their thoughts and opinions regarding that and talk in terms of those parties and Guardian apps. Now I'm going to validate who they are, in their context, from their point of view without judging doesn't mean, you agree, and this is a really key thing. Just because validation is that non judgmental curiosity. That means I'm seeking to understand without judging, because, you know, it's the whole the adage, you know, walk a day in my shoes with my experiences, and see what choices you would make, right. And you get really good at that inside the FBI. Because, you know, whether you're trying to inspire a criminal to confess to the crime they did, if you're sitting across the table judging them for what they did, what's the likelihood they're going to share? What actually happened? Exactly. And so it's about understanding, and then finally, give them choices, you know, if appropriate, that's how you shift that conversation from yourself to them. And those shields do start coming down.

Laura Khalil:

And I would imagine, you know, one of the things that I teach a lot is that sometimes these conversations take time and not necessarily expect to have a profound revelation at the end of or profound, you know, mutual coming together at the end of one conversation that, you know, you've got to kind of be in this for the marathon of taking time to get to know someone and I imagine you'd say something similar, Robin, this takes time,

Robin Dreeke:

guaranteed. And here's the other thing, too. I mean, I said Every one 360. You know, just because we might not agree in one area doesn't mean, you know, we're not going to agree, you know, in 300 other areas. And so if we don't agree here, then I'll plant the seed by asking a discovery question, and then I'll back out because if you're so emotionally hijacked in an area, or you know, Hey, I'll take account and if I become emotionally hijacked, because everyone has confirmation bias, you can overcome it, you know, if we both so locked into our own confirmation bias, that this is a lane that we're not going to make a connection, just remember, it's just one lane, you know, and just leave that lane alone for now. You know, go go go to a place, go to topic, go to other things, we have a great beautiful commonality where we have great overlapping priorities. That's where you're gonna find the joy again, because our brains seeking crave and we want to, you know, brain rewards, we seek to have dopamine release, we want oxytocin in our blood streams, you know, all these pleasure centers, our brain needs it. And if we're constantly living in a state of anger, resentment, frustration, I have no idea how long a brain can handle not being exposed to positive chemicals. If Now, what happens is that never ending cycle that they think, well, they think they're going to feed off of more of that negative energy. And so, so that, so people kind of cluster together, and it more confirmation bias, you know, that makes them even more angry. You know, it's just, it's very unhealthy. And,

Laura Khalil:

you know, I agree. And I, it's funny, because I think that a lot of people we talk about, like getting those feel good chemicals. And I don't know what you think about this, but I think a lot of people try to get those feel good chemicals by quote unquote, clapping back at someone by saying something. So that makes like, gives them like a hit of dopamine, it makes them feel really good, but it's so inflammatory, and so rude, that they feel good for one second for saying it. That's it. But then like, what, like, you've just like, a bomb has just gone off? And like, how are you going to repair anything when you talk to people this way?

Robin Dreeke:

Right? Because all you're doing is, you know, you're creating a lot of buyer's remorse from people you're engaging with, you're ruining your personal brand. Yeah, I mean, so here's a great scenario to think about, you know, I mean, we've all experienced the bully at work, I think, you know, and I remember, you know, years ago, you know, I got transferred to an office. Normally, when you transfer into an office, you know, people are doing, you know, getting some feedback on you, and then their Google India and all that. So I get transferred to this office. And the boss there, I didn't actually work directly for him, I was just kind of implanted in the area. And so he had his secretary, do a google on me, they found out all these things I was doing because I had outside employment authority. When I was actually still working in the FBI, I was doing all this stuff already. Oh, I had to get it renewed every year. I mean, as a big stack of papers every year for the government bureaucracy, make sure I could still teach and share this contents on the MBI. And so he found that all this stuff, and he immediately turned me into security. You know, he didn't talk to me, he turned me off because he thought the way to get ahead in his career was to turn people in. You know, that's, that's what bullies do. You know, they make themselves look better by trying to take people out.

Laura Khalil:

Wait a minute, Robin, you had all the authority to be doing this. And he just turned you in?

Robin Dreeke:

Yeah, I didn't even know if I had it turned in. And I was See, but that's but that's not a big deal to me. Because, you know, because while he's acting in what he thought was his best interests, Hmm, I don't begrudge anyone what they think is their best interest, I try to understand their context. And his context was he wants to get promoted, he thinks the way to take get it wasn't about me, it was about him. He thought by taking me out, he'd get promoted, you know, I mean, so it wasn't you know, good. I think you probably saw LinkedIn the other day one of my favorite quotes mefford I came up with it this time period, you know, I don't allow myself to be collateral damage and anyone else's insecurities and so no big deal, but was so here's the power of this. So you know, it didn't bother me. And then I remember you know, that's when rumors around the office start you know, hey, you know, he turned you in for this that what are you going to do about it? You think I was going to retaliate? Or be angry said I don't care. Just gonna like I said you as because that's his problem, not mine. My boss comes me says Rob, you know, authority do all this right. So yeah, boss here. Here's all my paperwork. Right? I said, Okay, no problem. And so and remember about two weeks later, he had come to me for a favor because I had a contact or relationship because the quote

Laura Khalil:

unquote, bully,

Robin Dreeke:

yeah. Okay, that turned me in. It came to me a couple weeks later, for a favor, you know, a contact, I had people that hold grudges and negative emotions, what do they do they want to retaliate, they want to, you know, and I said, Oh, no problem, I'll definitely help you out. And let me make the contact for you. And so herein lies the power of letting go, and not taking things personal and keeping them. If you can't keep that person positive, at least you can give that effect to everyone around you, because everyone around me said, What are you doing? I said, Well, he asked me a favor. Why would I give him a favor? Because remember, what's one of my anchors, I'm an available resource for the success and prosperity of others without expectation, reciprocity. There's no caveat on how you treat me. Wow. And so you're like

Laura Khalil:

a Buddhist Zen master right now.

Robin Dreeke:

Well, I'm not born that way I was born the very judgmental, narcissistic ass. And I found that's a really horrible way to live. You know, and when you're faced, you know, for a career of having to build relationships, I found that if you have that behavior, you're going to fail majestically. Yeah. And I found myself feeling so much better with I just don't allow people to bother me. And it's also it's very, very, you know, when we talk about when we talk about sizing people up, it's about assessing people in every different aspect and lane of their life. If I can't necessarily trust or predict your behavior in this one lane right here, because we're have incongruencies of priorities or views or ethics more yet, that doesn't mean that I can't explore other areas we can, I will, in other words, I will find a way to make a connection with you, if it's not in this lane that might be in another if people focused on what's positive that we have in each other, and we can just let go of the disagreement. And then when everyone's emotions Calm down, we can actually cognitively think that way again, then we can actually have a discussion, you know, and do what I call sympathy, you know, which is that understanding of stoicism of the cause and effect the human behavior, understanding what we're all seeking and craving, and massive empathy, which is understanding the context of others when you put them together. That's when great discussions and dialogue take place. And that all happens again, through having that, that great non judgmental curiosity and of others, and also it starts bringing up massive self awareness, right, which is the key to success in life, self awareness, where you can humble up and know what I suck at. And you have a plan to overcome it. Again, I always say my three books are my manuals on how not to be the moron I was born to be. And also an awareness of what the world sees when they see you from their context. And then ask yourself, alright, if it's off, what am I gonna do about it? It's not their fault, what they see, it's my fault, what they see so.

Laura Khalil:

So Robin, you said, I don't know this is an exact quote, but something to the effect of you were born and grew up being a narcissistic ass, correct?

Robin Dreeke:

Yes.

Laura Khalil:

Not make sure we got that. Now, you have made a pretty profound shift in your life. That's obvious. What was the impetus for that? Because most people who are who first of all, most narcissists don't describe themselves as narcissists. They don't know that they are, which is part of the problem, that lack of self awareness. But people who have challenging behavior patterns that are difficult to work with or difficult to speak with, are often so self righteous, that they would never consider there's something wrong, they would never consider self reflection. So what happened to you? How did you make this shift?

Robin Dreeke:

I probably over exaggerate the narcissism. But it was definitely self centered, though. And most people are, you know, I've analyzed this a lot, too. And everyone, I think everyone's born with great superpowers. And we also have things we're working on. Luckily, for me, I'm the type of guy that I'm very, extremely self reliant. I grew up in a time period where he had to start working at nine years old to be able to afford any kind of school clothes to go to school with. I mean, it was very humbling background. And so the thing that really helped me along the way, besides creating massive humbling moments in my life, which make you reflect, and because of how I grew up, coming up, being brought up with no money, and having my parents working two and three jobs, neither of them had gone to college. And never once did my parents blame anyone for anything. They leaned in, they worked hard, and they didn't complain. It's just the way it is, and what are you going to do about it? You know, and, you know, Tara can remember last time wrote the book insight, which is about self awareness. And the difference between someone who's self aware and someone who's not is someone who's not self aware asks, Why Why is this happening to me? And then they kind of project? What's happening to them and blaming the rest of the world on it. And someone who's more self aware as what, what am I going to do about it? And so I am a what guy, you know. And so, every time an event, a humbling moment was happening in my life, whether I was forced to roommate with people that I didn't like, and all sudden, I became great friends with them, they became my best friends actually in the world. Or I was ranked last at all the Marines at my first duty station, I didn't say, you all suck. I said, What am I doing wrong? And so, a lot of times people have a hard time telling you what you're doing wrong, because it's very subjective. They just get this feeling. And so my life pursuit has been taking that subjective art form and breaking it down to make an a cognitive paint by numbers. So I could actually recognize the behaviors and not change who I am, you know, you can change who you are. But what you can do is you can add behaviors to yourself, because when you start adding behaviors, it starts mitigating the negative behaviors. You're gonna it's so much easier to say, because imagine this Laura today, I need you to stop doing this. This, this and this go. And you're like, it's overwhelming. Yeah, exactly. Because first of all, now I'm judging you. And I'm saying you suck. And then I'm saying, and now you got to

Laura Khalil:

since interview is over Robin,

Robin Dreeke:

I'm saying, you have to stop doing these behaviors you've been doing in your entire life. Right? And you do it.

Laura Khalil:

Should I stop breathing as well? Right? That's

Robin Dreeke:

so so the good thing is, is that I'm a big believer in let's What do we need to add? You know, that's all comes back to EQ, emotional intelligence, you know, it's not about stopping who you are, it's about adding what new behaviors I can add, to kind of bring things in balance, all those negative things about me, there's some goodness in there, taking the initiative, being out front, love taking charge, you know, having ideas having creativity. Now, if it's over an abundance of it, it can look like a lot of self centered ecosystem, right? If but if I learn how to add to that, like, how do I flip it? And how do I make it about everyone else, but myself? One, I gain the insights from others that are amazing. I build relationships, which are the keys and answers to everything in life's challenges come through relationships? I mean, if you don't know the answer, where's it gonna come from? It's gonna come from someone else, right? It's only gonna come from someone else, if you have a good healthy relationship with them. And you keep blown relationships is all we do is angry at everyone all the time. You're out. Yeah, so forget it. It's about adding,

Laura Khalil:

Oh, my gosh, I just love talking to you, Robin. It's just, there's so many insights here. And there's so many really powerful mindset shifts, for anyone who's listening. Please devour this. Now I just want to go back to Well, let me boost your ego, a little bit. Robin, you're brilliant. Okay. There's probably gonna be like a very humbling moment that comes next. But truly, I mean, this is not stuff we hear every day. And I just, you know, as you're talking, one thing keeps running through my mind over and over and over. And so I'm going to bring it up. And let's sort of work through this. So I know my audience knows this. This is of no surprise to anyone who knows me. I am definitely on the left. There's no question to anyone who who knows me that they know how I'm voting. They know what I believe in. And I hear from a lot of people on the left, the conversation stops. When we label someone as racist, it's over. This is like, we can't talk anymore. And a lot of times, we'll say, Yeah, well, they may have done some good stuff. But they're racist. They hate black people. They are supporting structures in our society that are, you know, supporting systemic racism and all this kind of stuff. And then they just don't they shut down. They just shut down. And because this is such a hot button issue for us, and probably will be for the next many, many years. How do we talk to people who do get shut down around the issues of race, and encourage them to keep having the conversation, to say, that person may disagree with you on race, but stay in it? Don't run away, keep listening, keep exploring, how do we do this? Because I feel that that issue is really going to tank us if we don't learn to just even have a conversation with someone who doesn't agree with us on racial issues.

Robin Dreeke:

So it's a great question. And I think the first thing that gets well, and you said it, what gets people to shut down? What do you say that gets people to shut down? What did you do? You labeled them racist?

Laura Khalil:

You're racist? Yeah,

Robin Dreeke:

you're a racist. So as soon as you give a label a meaning to someone, they're going to shut down. Yeah, so I like engaging people without a label of meaning. And the greatest example of this in my own personal life, we have a great network of FBI Academy grads, from my class, my class at the Naval Academy class 92, we are very, very tight. And I have, you know, African Americans, you know, black, you know, that when I was in the Marine Corps, what we called it was everyone's a different shade of green, but we're all green, you know, and so, but was really, I have one classmate, he is a really deep thinker on this, and he's black. And he shares some insights after the baits and after Black Lives Matter. And I listened very, very deeply to understand the language and context from what she's speaking from. So I can understand. And what's great is, is I'm listening because he hasn't placed labels and meanings on anyone. I don't think he's that I've ever heard him say, or accuse someone of being racist, but he's now he's sharing his thoughts and opinions from his point of view without giving a negative connotation to anyone that doesn't think like him. He's actually just sharing his thoughts and opinions and it makes me curious, and so people will shut down their curiosity. If you're giving them an what's a societal connotation of negativity, because then why would I talk to you, you're not even gonna listen to me. You know, so if you want to inspire someone that you believe is racist, to listen to your point of view, the first thing you don't want to do is to shut them down and put their shields up where they think you're unreasonable from there, but now, you don't Think you're unreasonable, but they do. Yes. Because you just gave them a negative label by society and they get frustrated. Why don't they want to talk to her? Because why would I not go listen? So let go of labeling people in a, you know, with this with a societal norm of something that's very judgmental by any group, and seek that non judgmental curiosity about because here's, here's a guarantee, I have listened to a lot of people that have been accused of being racist. And when you actually dive deeper behind what is accused to be racist on the surface, you're getting context, you're getting context of, you know, nature or nurture, you know, by nature, none of us are really racist. We don't understand that we're not born racist. So that so then it comes down to the nurture part, where did you grow up? What kind of economic status, what part of the country? What kind of legacy? This is really key to? I've learned this with my own kids growing up? You know, I grew up with boomers and traditionalists in northern New York, which had a set of language that they use to describe people that language use today is completely inappropriate. I think we all have parents and grandparents, right? Does that mean they are? No, it's a language that they grew up with. I know, there's not a racist bone in the bodies of my great grandparents. But the language I grew up with sounds extremely racist, right? And so it's getting past the left, again, what's in their heart? If you know the racism isn't in the heart? Well, then what can you do to educate them on the language and the communication skills and how it sounds? In other words, they have a lack of self awareness of how that impacts others when they're using that kind of language? Right? So how can I inspire them to be more self aware about the impact they're having on others? I always ask people, you know, simple question, do you like making people feel better or worse for who they are?

Laura Khalil:

It's a simple question. But it's very powerful. And I really appreciate your response to this. Because this is, in my opinion, one of the areas where the left really gets shut down. And they refuse to engage, they refuse to dialogue, they cut people off. And taking a step back. And using the tools that Robin is suggesting, are going to be really powerful game changers for actually building better relationships. Because I'll be honest with you, I think the way that this country is going, we're not moving in a positive trajectory towards getting along with your neighbor, and towards, you know, building communities that meet those shared goals that we all have that you mentioned earlier. So that's hard to do. It's hard. It's not easy to suspend the label, and to say, Okay, let me just listen to this person and hear their perspective. But I think that's critically, critically important.

Robin Dreeke:

Always ask yourself this before you're engaging, or while you're engaging, you're never going to convince someone of your point of view, which want to do is think in terms of how can I inspire them to want to listen to mine. And the only way I can inspire them to want to listen to mine is I got to make the conversation about them. You know, if I want to tell someone something, the best thing to do is ask them what they think about what I want to tell them. You know, I remember, you know, so let's take it to what I did in national security, you know, so if you go in a door, or knocking on the front door, and you know, my job was to recruit confidential human sources to help against the threat of China, you know, so my context is China is really doing bad things economically, by having all these attack vectors from all these, you know, clear defense contractors and people with great information that invested a lot of money in the research they do. And so if my context is China's bad, but I can't impose it on you, because if I, if I knock on your front door, I go to your company, say, hey, so what I really hoping to do today is help me with China. Well, this person doesn't have that context. I've just insulted the hell out of them. And their shields are up, and I ruin my brand. As opposed to I asked, hey, you know, after we have you know, an introduction, here's what I'm here to do. I'm here to be a resource for you and help protect your company. I'm curious, what do you think about China, masking their thoughts and opinions and getting their context before I even do anything else? Because now I have to understand their frame and of how they see the world regarding this topic. And so if I get a response, if they say, oh, China's eating our lunch, I said, Oh, really? What do you think we can do about that? As Opposed? And if they say, China's not a threat to us, I said, Okay, that's some valid points helped me understand how did you come up with that point? So when you take it to racism, instead of saying, Hey, you know, I heard you say this, you're racist. I'd say hey, I'm curious. What do you think about racism? Hmm. I'm seeing a lot of different definitions. What people think racism is I'm curious, what's your definition of racism? And you've got to know you got to be congruent though with your nonverbals. You can't be judging, you have to be non judgmentally. Curious.

Laura Khalil:

So if you're sitting here with your arms crossed, and you know, staring at them, yeah.

Robin Dreeke:

Right. Because in order to have a conversation, I have to understand your context in which you're engaging the world and you see it through your optic, because a lot of times the words and definitions people are using are different from each other. And so I need to understand like when people ask me, someone will ask me a question because I, you know, you said it before, I'm kind of I sound like this Zen Buddha kind of way. And so when someone says something to me, the last me a question, I'm trying to think of the type of question they asked me, it like it edges on like a religious type question, were my Christian or son like that my typical responses helped me understand, what's your belief system first? I said, What do you mean? I said, I need to understand, are you spiritual? Are you agnostic? Are you an atheist? Are you I can frame my answer for you, too, however, you need to hear it. So you can hear the content of the message. But I need to understand your context in order to communicate to you so in order to do that, if you want to address racism, I first need to understand how you define racism, what you think that is, right? You know, when I was listening to you know, my friend, you know, sharing with me his thoughts and opinions about being a black American, and growing up where he did, I now understand his context that he's talking about and that a lot of other people are talking about. So it was it was an optic I hadn't had. And so not like, that's Wow, that makes a lot of sense. I now understand why he speaks in the speaking the way he's speaking about these topics, because it's his context. This was his experience, it framed his language, it framed all these things. And now it's easier to communicate because we have a common language now. And so you only get a common language, if you actually ask how they speak, you know, learn about what their context is what they define things as. And so once you understand that, you'll see you, when someone gives you this context, you'll actually see you have a lot more in common than you think.

Laura Khalil:

I love that Robin. And one thing I want to point out that you said, and I just want to really call it out for the audience, people may be using the same word, but it has different meanings. Oh, yeah. So and that is? I mean, I don't think we hear that most of the time. Most of the time, we think I hear I understood exactly what you said. That's not true. You have to clarify you have to at what did you mean by that? Tell me more about that. Because every discussion you're having with someone every argument, every hard conversation, you can only look at it through your lens until you get access to theirs. And they sort of share back Oh, this is what you actually met how interesting I, I see it differently or whatever.

Robin Dreeke:

And I do this with my daughter, you know, I remember when she was in high school and in college, you know, I remember I would say something, which was, again, a common word or phrase or something I've used my entire life. And I'd look at the expression on our face, I could tell immediately I caused discomfort. I said, Alright, help me understand. What does that word mean to you? Was that definitions so I can understand. So I know how not to use that, you know, so it I didn't say, well, you just need to learn how to deal with my life. No, no, it's like, Alright, it caused discomfort. Tell me why tell me what that word means. Because it meant something different to me growing up than it does to you now. And I need to understand the language. I mean, because remember, this year has demonstrated this more than any other year than our generations of experience. Life continually changes and moves forward. Sometimes it moves forward rapidly. Sometimes it moves forward slowly. We are in a rapid change here. Yeah. And you're and you either keep up or you don't the ones that don't keep up are the ones that are frustrated, angry, resentful, and all these other things just really capitalize on top of it. I think understanding each other's definitions in language really can go a long way to say wow, because once you understand how they saw the language, and what their intent was, you know what's in the heart. Very few people have really evil things in their heart. They really don't I mean, I've spoke to so many people around the world. You know, very few people want to do harm to others want to insult others want to be inflammatory, it's just that we have these mis definitions, you know, and then just clashing of contexts arguing context and it goes nowhere. And it but it takes energy. You know, it does take energy and patience to learn and experience and have that curiosity.

Laura Khalil:

Fabulous. Robin, again, I could talk to you forever. But we got to wrap this show up my friend. Oh, no. So Robin, how can people learn more about you? Where can they find you? Where can they find the book? Where are we directing them? The

Robin Dreeke:

best place in the world is my website. It's my company's people. formula.com all one word people formula.com I have free podcasts on there but yours on there, Lord, you can go to my LinkedIn page. Follow me on there to do my quote of the day or a couple quotes a week kind of thing. And guideline training, contact me directly, whatever I don't turn anyone down from a chat or conversation. So look forward to the rub anyone?

Laura Khalil:

Thanks for being back with us on brave fi design.

Robin Dreeke:

Thank you and thanks for all you do putting great content out Laura.

Laura Khalil:

My pleasure. I want to thank you for joining me and remember to subscribe to your favorite app so you can stay up to date and I would love your review. If you've enjoyed this episode. Please leave a review and comment on Apple podcasts. You can also keep in touch with me online. You can Find me on LinkedIn and I'm also on Instagram at force of badassery. All that information will be available in the show notes. Until next time, stay brave.