The FPA Retreat 2013 kicked off in Palm Springs, Calif. on Saturday with an interactive presentation by brain and behavior specialist Judith Glaser titled “The Neuroscience of Change—Putting Conversational Intelligence to Work.”
“How do we process what’s around us to help us deal with change?” Glaser rhetorically asked at the beginning of the session. “People experience change differently when they are in healthy conversations about change.”
She related a conversation she once witnessed between a 9-year-old boy and an older gentleman. The boy was busy on a computer when the gentleman attempted to engage him. The gentleman asked where the boy went to school. The boy replied, “YouTube!” The gentleman thought he misunderstood and repeated the question. The boy said, “There are so many great things and wonders on YouTube, this is where I learn.” Taking a different tact, the man asked what the boy wanted to be when he grew up. The boy said, “Oh no, the world is changing much too fast, so no matter what I say I won’t end up being it anyway, so I’m just enjoying myself.”
“The goal is too eventually get your clients to be as comfortable with change as this 9-year-old boy,” she said.
Glaser than described a 2008 study in which individuals were given backpacks and told they were going to climb a mountain. Some of the individuals were grouped together and others were told to do it alone. Those that were in groups did not see the mountain as large or their backpacks as heavy as the solo trekkers.
She then asked how the financial planners in the audience respond to change. Was it fight or flight, freeze or appease?
“How you respond to change has a major impact on how your clients respond to change,” Glaser explained. “We either empower or disempower each other in our conversations by our positive or negative energy.”