How Understanding Neuroscience Can Help You Build Stronger Relationships cover art

Join Debra Pearce-McCall, María Escobar-Bordyn, Ute Franzen-Waschke, and me as we talk about the role of neuroscience in emotions and how they factor into relationships. The three guests are from CreatingWE and you can learn more about their work at and


María Escobar-Bordyn

As president of The CreatingWE® Institute, María Escobar-Bordyn brings extensive experience advising, coaching, and consulting with executives and organizations worldwide in diverse industries and company sizes, from mid-sized to Fortune 50 and 100, as well as non-profits. A highly capable executive coach and facilitator, she is adept at understanding diverse organizational cultures and business models.

A dynamic and high-energy facilitator and presenter, María facilitates corporate
sessions, workshops and interactive keynote events, and is recognized for her ability to
engage and motivate audiences quickly, helping them to ‘move the needle’.

Core to her work is Conversational Intelligence®, giving her a unique understanding of
the impact of conversations as a catalyst for change and transformation, providing new
and fresh approaches to enterprises who are seeking to change their culture, elevate
trust, build world-class leadership teams, and foster higher levels of teamwork and
partnering, even under trying circumstances.

Ute Franzen-Waschke

Ute is passionate about developing people for the international workplace. Throughout her extensive career, she has worked with her clients on co-creating environments that allow individuals, teams and businesses to thrive, be the focus on communication, relationship or corporate cultures.

Already during her ongoing certification in the inaugural Conversational Intelligence® for Coaches program, C-IQ became an integral and definitive aspect of Ute’s own approach to engagements with clients and coaches. The learning and mentorship provided by Judith E. Glaser enabled her to step into her role on the C-IQ leadership team in 2018, actively certifying coaches in Judith’s body of work.

Ute was a foundational member of the European C-IQ Collective and embraces every opportunity to promote Judith’s legacy, one example being her co-authorship of the recently published book “Changing Conversations for a Changing World”, a collection of diverse case studies on C-IQ in action.

As an active conference speaker and member of the Forbes Coach Council, Ute has published numerous articles on change initiatives and corporate culture. These articles are informed by her broad experience as multi-national executive coach and trainer across diverse industries, encompassing change management projects, customer relationship management, and leading multicultural teams.

Debra Pearce-McCall

Debra is a leader in integrating the science of mind and brain with the relational dimension of human life. As a psychologist, consultant, and “mind coach”, she delights in working with people interested in maximizing their leadership potential through developing their mind and relating skills.

Debra is known for her impact, enthusiasm, and ability to translate wisdom from the science of being human into daily life and positive change. She has expertise in numerous methods for accelerating growth and change; and her consulting work is informed by decades of experiences as an executive, business partner, board member, clinician, and educator.

Debra was a member of the Leadership Team that co-created and delivered the 2019 WBECS C-IQ Certification for Coaches. She had worked with and completed the inaugural Conversational Intelligence® for Coaches Certification program, after a decade of collegial consulting with C-IQ originator Judith E. Glaser.

In addition to speaking internationally on leadership with the brain in mind, Debra enjoys writing on the topic. Publications include co-authoring the seminal work applying interpersonal neurobiology to leadership, Mindsight at Work, as well as several articles about C-IQ, many co-written with Judith E. Glaser. Debra is currently writing a book about human well-being and the relational neuroscience of everyday leadership.

We recorded this episode on February 28, 2021.

There is a whole lot of how our brains and nervous systems get wired that happens in the context of all of those relationships that we come into.

Debra Pearce-McCall

Your Challenge Invitation

Ute Franzen-Waschke: Watch out to become more aware of the relationships that you are in, in the workplace, at home, and as you go about your day. How does it feel to be in these relationships with different people at different places, and what does your body tell you about it? By fine-tuning your awareness around the relationships, you will get a lot more insights around what you can do to tune it and create balance in the relationship.

María Escobar: With the knowledge that you’ve gained from listening to this episode, observe just what is it that you notice now that maybe you didn’t notice before. You can do this while engaging in a conversation or by watching people as they engage in conversations (even on the television). If you are watching a show, how they’re engaging? What do you notice about their neurochemistry or what do you notice about how they’re engaging? This exercise will increase your awareness.

[36:05] Debra Pearce: Pausing can be a powerful practice. It provides a chance to check in with ourselves. This can be the length of a deep breath and notice what you’re noticing. Look deeply into someone’s eyes while speaking with them. Be deliberate in your word choice. By pausing, you’ll be giving yourself permission to take notice of yourself and the people and relationships around you. How you show up in our conversations depends on your ability to take that pause.

Contact and follow each of the interviewees on LinkedIn: María Escobar-Bordyn, Debra Pearce-McCall, Ute Franzen-Waschke.

You can connect with Damianne on the Changes BIG and small website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. You’re also invited to join the Changes BIG and small Facebook community.

In every conversation, we’re bringing every experience and every conversation we’ve ever had with anybody anywhere at any time. – María Escobar-Bordyn.

Similar Episodes

Timeline of the Chat

[02:57] Is love part of every relationship?
[06:25] The Brain in Relationships
[13:49] Oxytocin, Cortisol and other Hormones
[24:38] What Else Affects Human Emotions
[32:50] CreatingWE Training Modules
[34:40] Invitation/Challenge

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Every relationship we have is an opportunity for us to help each other heal. – Debra Pearce-McCall

Nobody’s brain is wired the same. – María Escobar-Bordyn

Transcript of the Episode

[00:54] Biographies

[00:54] Damianne President: Would each of you like to introduce yourself in a couple of sentences? 

[00:57] Ute Franzen-Waschke: I will give it a start because we’ve just talked a few weeks ago. So my name is Ute. I’m based in Germany and it’s in the evening hours already here. I’m very happy to have Maria and Debra, two of my dear colleagues with me today. Last time I was alone and we were talking about relationships, and I thought it would be nice to have Maria and Debra with me because we can share so many good things around what we think is important around relationships. 

[01:29] Debra Pearce: Thank you Ute for that. I would say that relationships have been a central focus and interest of mine since I was younger than I can remember. And so I love that as we look at change, which I know is what your podcast is about, that we realize that our relationships are just such a huge part of that. And so whether at work or in our own lives, I would say talking about relationships and talking about conversation and relationships and getting to talk about it with my two colleagues here, Ute and Maria, some of my favorite stuff to do.

[02:16] Maria Escobar: And I’m Maria Escobar. Like both Uta and Debra, I’ve been fascinated with conversations and relationships since the get-go, although I came to it a little bit differently. I moved around a lot when I was growing up and went to 13 schools before I finished high school and had to live in a lot of different places and then learn how relationships emerge or evolve based on culture.

And so I was always very observant about “that doesn’t work here” or “does this work here”. Hence my fascination with connection and conversations and relationships. So I’m so happy to be here. 

[02:55] Damianne President: Welcome to all three of you. 

[02:57] Is love part of every relationship?

[02:57] Damianne President: I was doing some reading about different types of relationships in preparation for our talk, and I came across Steinberg’s three components of love, which are intimacy, passion, and decision or commitment.

 Thinking about those three components of love, is there love in every relationship or in every interpersonal relationship? How do you think about that?

[03:27] Maria Escobar: I find it interesting that you asked this because we were just touching on this recently and I don’t know that I would necessarily use the word love cause everybody defines it a little bit differently, but I think care is a part of every relationship, whether it’s a short-term one, whether it’s an immediate one, whether it’s just a transactional one that there’s care, I think, as a component to it.

[03:51] Ute Franzen-Waschke: What I would add is using the word love, usually I would say this is something for private personal relationships, and we are in a business context. And yet using the word love with passion, because what connects us is the passion for the work of Judith E. Glaser or conversational intelligence. And just this morning as I was, you know, sitting at the breakfast table, I was thinking, look at this, I met Debra in New York many, many years ago. And I met Maria in New York also a few years ago, but the three of us have never been in the same place in the same room at the same time. And we still are passionate about the work we do. We still share intimacy was another word that you mentioned. So I think we know a lot about each other. We know a lot about our preferences. And so I think even in a business context, or at least in our specific context, I would say some of these elements definitely are reflected, at least for me.

[04:59] Debra Pearce: What your question brought to mind for me is it might be love, it might be care, it might be a mix of other emotional flavors, but one of the things we do know for sure is all of our relationships are absolutely emotional, which is kind of still a radical thing to say in the workplace. But when you look at the neuroscience, as we do, it’s part of who we are whether we’re noticing it or not, our emotions around whatever relationship we are in, in the moment or thinking about, or that’s being called up in us from other places, even in this conversation. Think that all of that emotion is absolutely influencing us and influencing how we show up. Our nervous systems can kind of talk to each other, influencing each other. So again, whether it’s love or care, what we know for sure is emotions are absolutely impacting all our relationships, even the ones where people might think, oh, emotion has nothing to do with this. 

[06:25] The Brain in Relationships

[06:25] Damianne President: I find this very interesting because the other thing that I was trying to learn about was the neuroscience of relationships. I could find some research on how fear, love, hate show up in the body, and also what is happening in the brain when people are experiencing these different emotions. So maybe a good place to start or to continue here is to talk about what are some of the key components. I don’t know if we want to talk about hormones or neural pathways but what’s happening in the brain?

[07:04] Debra Pearce: There’s so much we’re learning and then there’s, as with all science, stuff we think we know, and then it turns out that really wasn’t accurate. I think one thing we know for sure is humans are born with their brains not completely wired up. And so there is a whole lot of how our brains and nervous systems get wired that happens in the context of all of those relationships that we come into. We know that we’re born made to relate. One of the favorite little facts of that is how infants’ vision, the only place they can really see clearly in focus is the range of where their gaze needs to be to see someone’s face when they’re being held. So we know we are made to be social, relational beings. And then in this weird paradox, and humans have so many of them, we also know that we create a lot of suffering among each other, whether it’s the kind of maybe daily, not knowing exactly how you fit in in a workplace or all kinds of other things, we can just look at the news and what’s going on in the world, that come out of relationships. 

So I think when you talk about the neuroscience, one of the ways we try to simplify and really make that science very useful in conversational intelligence is to actually highlight just a couple of the pieces of neurochemistry that help us understand a good amount of what happens, or begin to take a look at how what’s happening in our brains, in our bodies. And what’s happening in our relationships are all related. And those happen to be two neurohormones called oxytocin and cortisol that I know my colleagues are quite familiar with as well.

I’ll just say we know that all of us are kind of on a seesaw as to whether it feels safe or not safe, whether we feel more of the oxytocin in the approach and the closeness with others, or whether we feel like we need to protect ourselves.

Other parts of our brains, like the amygdala, may fire and this stress hormone cortisol can really get released in us. Then if we’re in that place in our relationship, we are experiencing that relationship very differently than if it’s a situation where we’ve gotten that oxytocin going, and then we can start to have a more open conversation as well.

[10:01] Maria Escobar: You brought up about we’re made to relate and when the comment came up about how emotions play in this, and of course being in the corporate world, which is where I’ve spent the bulk of my career, emotions really weren’t talked about because these are not facts. Yet no matter this whole concept of we’re made to relate, we are.

I happen to have a son – he’s an adult now – who’s on the autism spectrum and of course we talk regularly. We hear regularly out there that they’re unable to connect with people because if they don’t have emotion, they can’t emotionally connect. And this is so completely not true. 

Our bodies are automatically recognizing signals from other people, whether we can interpret them well or not. If we’re human, we’re connecting and we are having emotional responses that other people can pick up and that we can pick up on theirs. And so this is the piece that I find so fascinating about relationship, is that we can always point a finger and say, yeah, well that person, we’d get along better if they did blank or if they were nicer. The reality is that you’re speaking to their neurochemistry where we are either in a room or on Zoom, I have an influence over how they are feeling about our relationship, even when I’m not doing anything intentional. And so, this whole neurochemical piece, I don’t think we can really overstate the impact that it has.

[11:24] Ute Franzen-Waschke: Yeah. What is fascinating for me is be it a Zoom room or be it a real room Maria, when we enter the room, we pick her up in milliseconds, nanoseconds, whether or not this is a place where we would like to be, where we feel we can build relationships with the people that are in the room. This happens so fast. And also the history, what we store about relationships, what we remember from the past, how people made us feel, this is so present then in that very moment and it comes back in a very short amount of time. So I think our brains stores a lot of information around relationships, how people made us feel, how we feel about people, and that will always influence the way we are interacting.

[12:17] Debra Pearce: And as you say that, I think about and so people can have a conscious experience, right? I’m just right here and now, and in this conversation. But what we know when we look at all of the science of relationships is that we are bringing in every moment all kinds of already existing models and biases and preferences and nervous system patterns and conversational patterns. And so, I think of that too, that just really knowing that when I’m in a conversation with someone we’re in the here and now, and we’re both bringing all of these larger and larger circles and contexts of who we are, including emotions. 

[13:09] Maria Escobar: Yeah, we talk about the fact that in every conversation, we’re bringing every experience and every conversation we’ve ever had with anybody anywhere at any time. It’s all coming into this one conversation. Yet, we don’t realize that’s the case, but those are all of the filters and the patterns that we bring that are right there when all of a sudden we think things are going well if something happens and a person “overreacts” to something that we may have said or done, it’s because we bring this whole body of experience with us to this one very focused conversation, supposedly very focused conversation. 

[13:49] Oxytocin <–> Cortisol (and other hormones)

[13:49] Damianne President: One question that occurred to me when you talked about there being both oxytocin and cortisol is can they both exist at the same time? Is it a matter of those being in balance or is it a matter of one of them being preferable? I mean, both of them probably have their role to play, but how do we think about the interplay between the two of them or how the two of them could help? 

[14:14] Debra Pearce: That’s a great question and very important. With everything in our nervous systems, I think is just to remember if you know the computer metaphor of a parallel processor, many, many things are happening at the same time. And then for us to understand it, we like to highlight an area, but it is always in this dynamic.

So yes, we always have oxytocin and cortisol running through our bodies. And then the question is what’s the relative balance. When there is a situation, like we get that oh my goodness, feel a little threatened or stressed, we get a cortisol burst. When we get that, then there’s a whole bio cascade of things through the body that is going to have a little bit of that jump, but it’s never like only one or the other. It’s always that relative balance.

[15:10] Maria Escobar: Well, and even if you think about being in a meeting or in a conversation, I guess it could happen with two people, but I’m thinking about three or four people in the conversation, and you’re in the middle of something that’s maybe very exciting and interesting, and you’ve got oxytocin flowing. If something happens and all of a sudden, it’s like whoa, and then you’ve got that little hit of cortisol because something was stressful, but maybe we end up in this great, maybe more deep conversation, and can feel it oxytocin going up. So things can happen throughout an interaction that will shift whether we’re noticing what we’re experiencing as oxytocin or cortisol.

[15:44] Damianne President: I was familiar with oxytocin and cortisol but in research, I also came across vasopressin, which was new to me. I guess it’s a hormone. And from what I learned, oxytocin shows up more in women for attachment, especially in terms of close physical relationships, intimacy, I guess, whereas vasopressin could be more prevalent in men for building attachment. Is that something you’ve researched or you’ve explored? 

[16:17] Debra Pearce: Well, that is absolutely part of the science if you look at the animal research that started the whole to-do about oxytocin. Sue Carter, she’s actually a life partner of someone who created another theory, polyvagal theory, that looks at this stuff. Instead of trying to just look at those levels, you can look at it in terms of whole circuits of communication. You point to the ongoing question people often have also about are there some kind of biological differences because we know there appear to be in some of the hormones in other ways that those hormones function and it can get pretty complex, pretty fast.

Part of it I think for me, and I’m guessing for my colleagues as well, is to be scientifically accurate and to really figure out how do we bring this to daily understanding. So yes, vasopressin is another important player when you look into the research in this. It’s all the different ways that those are always in seesaw with each other that are underpinning all of the science. 

[17:40] Damianne President: I got some research from a page at Harvard and they emphasized two different hormones, oxytocin and dopamine, as being important hormones in whether or not we tend towards having more balance and having close relationships and healthy relationships or what they call more irrational behaviors. I’m curious if you have any thoughts that you want to share about that. 

[18:14] Debra Pearce: Well, first of all, I’m really appreciating the research that you do for your podcast. And then second, this is right. We know that dopamine would kind of fall on the, like oxytocin, like what gets billed as the positive neurohormones. But everything in our exquisite physiology has a kind of okay zone. Think about like when you get your blood tests at the doctor. Too little or too much is a problem. So, this is actually true. I mean, even with oxytocin, we know that just oxytocin having that doesn’t necessarily mean, oh, you know, people are going to be kind and caring. It means they’re going to be more bonding to people that they feel it’s safe to bond with, however that’s being interpreted. Same with dopamine.

We can’t stop dopamine from happening. Dopamine signals to us this feels good and I would like to have more of this in my future. And it’s certainly pivotal, not only in the kind of close relationships but even in a work relationship.

I remember consulting with a team years ago once, and the one takeaway they told me even years later when I ran across one of them was when I said something about, I think it was, we called it the dopamine being, that when you say something to someone like “really appreciate what you did”, “this was incredibly helpful”, “thanks for this good job”, people get a little dopamine thing going, just a little boop. And how important it is to have this almost invisible relationship power, where we can help elevate each other’s neurochemistry. But too much or too little dopamine is a problem in all kinds of ways, not only how it might show up in relationship or in behavior, but even physiologically with particular diagnoses, like Parkinson’s. So yes, yes. Too much or too little. 

[20:27] Maria Escobar: Yeah. And so the interesting thing about what you just said also is that oxytocin in and of itself doesn’t necessarily connect to just good people, that we can feel we can get huge oxytocin boosts by being with kindred spirits. And those kindred spirits could be three people that I’m going to go rob a bank with or we’re going to go do something that’s illegal but we’ve got this oxytocin or there’s dopamine going because of this connection that we feel. And so it really is about bonding with our tribe and the tribe doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a positive one., Behaviourally, it isn’t necessarily a positive one. So we can get it from a number of different places and hopefully, we’re not getting it from robbing banks.

[21:11] Ute Franzen-Waschke: Like the examples Maria. Always have so on examples. I like them.

[21:18] Maria Escobar: Yeah, sorry. It’s an Escobar thing. Sorry. 

[21:22] Ute Franzen-Waschke: Yeah, that makes it so real, you know. I can relate to that. And I think that is really important when we are talking about the science pieces. We can read a lot. There is a lot of information out there and as Debra said, the information is updated constantly. But what is important is what does the information mean for me when I’m with people, be it in the workplace, be it at home, and how does it play out the science in me, in the other people. And I think making that connection and building that bridge from the science to the real world in examples like Maria does or in how we relate, I think this is really important. This is what makes science accessible.

[22:09] Damianne President: We went on a tangent for a while about how employers may use gut or rational thought, the brain in making decisions about hiring and I will be releasing that separately. The key point from that segment is that when we hire just from our gut, we may end up hiring people just like us and that could actually be a problem for diversity. So it is important to think about what you’re hiring for and to be careful not to introduce bias and not to close the pool of applicants and exclude people because you’re just going by the gut.

I did want to keep the following comment from Debra because it connects the conversation that we had about hiring nicely to the rest of the interview. 

[23:03] Debra Pearce: Having awareness of your own neurochemistry and these levels of conversation and even things that you’re talking about. There are ways that understanding just a little bit of the science about how come that could happen, what Maria is describing there, that I think it just really opens the possibility for people to notice, be aware of, and work with their own neurobiology in their relationships. It’s empowering to do that, but I think it’s also you show up as a more responsible person in relationships because you’re really trying to be aware of what’s happening on those different levels and how that’s influencing how you show up. 

[23:50] Damianne President: Yes, this makes me think of the work of Dr. Laurie Santos, who teaches a happiness course. One of the units in the course is going through some of the fallacies about intuition and where we can get caught in some of those things that everybody knows but it’s not necessarily true. One of them that I quite enjoy is ” knowing is half the battle”. She says knowing is absolutely not half the battle. It’s a very small amount of the battle. 

[24:20] Debra Pearce: And again, because she’s speaking to the fact that we have elevated this idea of the rational, logical brain as though this is where we’re going to actually solve things. And you know, right now humanity is truly being confronted with the limits of that approach.

[24:38] What Else Affects Human Emotions

[24:38] Damianne President: That leads very well to my next question, which is what are the other considerations, what are the other factors that contribute to our emotions and that contribute to our ability to form relationships besides the brain? 

[24:52] Debra Pearce: All of our relationships. On every context, I mean, everything we’ve experienced, everything we even keep and we don’t kind of think about from the time we were born, what we’ve been able to be exposed to or not in our whole life experience, but am I not understanding your …

[25:14] Damianne President: No, you absolutely are understanding my question. And maybe it’s a bit too broad, but I think that sometimes we can expect that, okay, now we know the neuroscience and we’re going to become really good at this. 

[25:29] Maria Escobar: Well, knowing is half the battle, right?

[25:31] Damianne President: Exactly. 

[25:35] Maria Escobar: Knowing creates the awareness. Well, I was puzzled as I was listening to you and I thought, oh my goodness, what? So what is the answer? But I think what you’re saying, Debra, is true. Yes, we have this powerful instrument of the brain and all the nervous system in our body, but going back to what we said, all of our history, all of our experiences, all of our previous relationships, and how they went or didn’t go, all of those become part and parcel and influence how we engage and interact with others.

If I think of just this personally, I wish I learned this so much earlier. Part of the reason why we embarked on what we do around conversational intelligence, is because the younger we are the earlier that we can learn to accept how we’re wired and accept that our experiences are our experiences, but then use that to inform how we want to engage, being aware of what our responses are and how we want to influence them as we engage with others is huge. I would have had so many, many different relationships with people if I would have learned this earlier. 

I don’t chastise myself for my earlier responses because I didn’t know what I didn’t know, but now I know that, okay, my brain is telling me this, and Maria, it’s really not true. So let’s take a step back, go take a walk, come back. How do you want to be in this conversation then enables me to feel like I have more power over influencing having a good relationship with somebody without it just being random because of the mood that I’m in. So this self-awareness about how we’re wired and all that we bring to us, not just the technical pieces, is really important, I think. 

[27:21] Damianne President: Yeah. And I was thinking about this in the context of sometimes when people go through adversity, you see vastly different responses. And so if we were all these mechanical beings and we could just bring it down to brain research, then we would all respond in the same way. All marriages would crumble when faced with adversity or everybody would get closer. All of the teams would get stronger after a challenge or they would all crumble, et cetera. So I just find that interesting to think about. 

[27:52] Debra Pearce: Well, because the brain has these two different kinds of matter in it. We can say, okay, everyone has an amygdala, everyone has a prefrontal cortex. But because the real action and the research is just years now, down the road of figuring out all those fibers that connect on everything and they’re constantly bringing communication all around, what we know is that is completely unique. Nobody’s brain is wired the same. There’s some general tracks that we all hope we have because it helps a human being function. But then all of the intricacies from there, completely unique.

And so I think recognizing that as well is part of what can really bring another level to our relationship and our conversation. 

[28:49] Maria Escobar: Well, it’s kind of like one of the questions you asked us, what is the thing we really are tired of talking about or I don’t like being asked, and one of them was like, well, what are the five, you know, what are the three steps to the best conversation? Well, our favorite answer is it depends because every conversation is different because every human being is different and we can predict all we want, but we don’t know what’s going on with the other person. And I recognize that we’re not going to have the answer necessarily, but we enter each conversation as a completely different experience and learning to figure out what’s going to work in that conversation to keep that relationship, put that relationship in a spot that’s healthy, there isn’t a three-step process to being able to do that. 

[29:33] Damianne President: Yes. And I think something that could also be exciting for listeners is that although we don’t all have the same brain and we don’t have all the same pathways created, no matter what age we are, our brain can still grow, can still strengthen, can still develop. And I think that’s something that has changed over the years where we used to think, oh, your time’s up, you can’t learn, you can’t change your brain anymore. And we’ve really seen that the brain is a lot more versatile thankfully than we thought it was. 

[30:05] Debra Pearce: And in fact that neuroplasticity, that changing brain, what actually really changes the brain a lot in our lives is our relationships. 

[30:18] Damianne President: I love how you brought it full circle. 

This is not a conversation about love but what I was thinking was depending on the level or the types of relationships people have had in their lives, they build, different competencies from that just as we do with anything else. It’s a flex, I guess. We train every other part of our body and we could train our brains in the same way. 

[30:46] Debra Pearce: Well, I think you’re right. And also we could spend a whole other hour together talking about the opening that has happened really only in recent years to understanding the impact that life challenges, that trauma, that adversity, that inequity have on people’s nervous systems and how do we acknowledge and work together in our workplaces. 

This sounds really kind of idealistic, but it’s also true. Every relationship we have is an opportunity for us to help each other heal. And so how do we begin, as more and more places are, to really acknowledge how many human beings carrying some kind of trauma that has impacted how they can show up, whether it even feels in any way, for example, safe to assume any kind of trust.

I’m so glad to see us, again, just opening up. I hope for more and more of a world, including our workplaces where, as I said before, where people get to be those full people. 

[32:09] Maria Escobar: Well, it’s hard, but it’s also been heartwarming to see when people have the ability to, well we use the term stand under instead of understand, to stand under another person’s reality, that the impact that it can have even on people that you would have thought could not be impacted by it, that something enabled them to see that and create that human connection that leaves me with lots of hope that we can move into those directions more than we already have. But at least the door is open. Can we start to stand under other people’s reality? I think we’re all wired to want to be able to connect with others. You already said that was the case; we are wired for relationships. 

[32:50] Damianne President: What time is almost up. I can’t believe it. 

When you introduced yourself, you talked about the fact that you all work together. And it’s my understanding from Ute that you have a module, some workshops that you teach around this topic and more broadly about leadership. Could you tell us a bit about this program? 

[33:11] Ute Franzen-Waschke: Yeah. So what brought us together, I said in the beginning, was Judith E. Glaser and her work around conversational intelligence. What we are doing now together is we have a program that helps people in general, not just leaders but also leaders, but people in general that want to shift their conversations with the knowledge of the science, the neuroscience, so that they become more effective at home, in the workplace, wherever you have conversations. And that’s what the program is about. And of course, it’s about relationships. It’s about neuroscience. It’s about everything we’ve talked about today. It’s open for anyone. It’s not necessarily only for leaders, 

Maria, anything you would like to add. 

[34:00] Maria Escobar: Yeah. It really, again, the focus is about increasing our knowledge base in something, but we call it an immersion program because the intention is that it’s a way to integrate foundational pieces that shift your conversations immediately. And we have consistent feedback from people who’ve attended a couple of modules and just out of the blue they’ll say, you know, I didn’t believe you when you said that my conversations would shift but they have, and I didn’t even realize they were going to. Because there are some simple things that one can do that can make the difference in terms of creating trust or mistrust potentially in a conversation. 

[34:37] Damianne President: And I’ll put a link to that in the show now.  

[34:40] Invitation/Challenge

[34:40] Damianne President: To finish up, is there an invitation or a challenge that you would like to give listeners of something they could do? I always like to include an action step so that people aren’t just passive listeners. 

[34:51] Ute Franzen-Waschke: So for me, I think the challenge that I would give to the listeners is to watch out and to become more aware of the relationships that they are in, in the workplace, at home, just encounters at the supermarket, because that is also relationship. So how does it feel to be in relationship with different people at different places and what does your body tell you about it? By fine-tuning your awareness around the relationships, I think you will get a lot more insights around what you can do to tune it and to what Debra said, to balance the see saw in that relationship. So that would be my challenge.

[35:34] Maria Escobar: I think mine is related to that. It’s just now that you’ve heard what you’ve just heard, observe just what is it that you notice now that maybe you didn’t notice before, either if you’re engaging in a conversation or my favorite one to just watching it, I’m a people watcher. I like to watch people engage in different things, even on television.

If you are watching a show, how they’re engaging? What you notice about their neurochemistry or what you notice about how they’re engaging because it increases the awareness.

[36:05] Debra Pearce: I’ll layer onto that the power of the pause, and just remembering when we are engaged in something, we cannot check in with ourselves in the same way as if we take that pause. And it sometimes doesn’t take that long of a pause to you know, maybe take a deep breath and notice something we weren’t noticing.

Look more closely into someone’s eyes. Think a little more about the words that they’re choosing; think a little more perhaps about ours. But I think then the noticing that both Ute and Maria are pointing to, and the ways that that just starts to open more doors, the first step of that is even giving ourselves that permission and realizing the power in that. Our possibilities to understand more and change how we show up in our conversations depends on our ability to take that pause.

[37:08] Damianne President: Do you have anything that I didn’t ask you that you want to make sure people take away? 

[37:12] Maria Escobar: I would only add that everything happens through conversations. I’m quoting part of what Judith used to say all the time that at first I wasn’t certain I believe, but it’s true. Everything happens through conversations. 

Our brains stores a lot of information around relationships, how people made us feel, how we feel about people, and that will always influence the way we are interacting. – Ute Franzen-Waschke


Every conversation is different because every human being is different and we can predict all we want, but we don’t know what’s going on with the other person. – María Escobar-Bordyn

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I'm a curious problem solver.

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