Creating Conversations that Matter with Catchbox
We all want to create conversations that matter. Though we all engage in conversation every day, sometimes, sometimes we aren’t really saying anything at all. All too often, its easier to just go through the motions with the people we meet and interact with, as opposed to establishing meaningful connections with one another. In the workplace, sticking to small talk can lead to disengagement, a lack of trust or friction between departments and employees. Chad Littlefield is on a mission to eradicate small talk, and in the process, enable everyone to create conversations that matter. We caught up with Chad to find out more about how Catchbox is helping him and his company We and Me, Inc. reshape the way we think about developing connections.
Who is Chad Littlefield and We and Me, Inc.
Back in early 2013, Chad spoke at TedX PSU about the benefits of Taking Positive Social Risks and how stepping out of our conversational comfort zone can help us establish more meaningful connections with one another. Inspired by the positive response to this talk, Chad established We!and.me with Co-founder Will Wise and together they embarked on a mission to inspire deeper human connection. Via a #1 best-selling book, workshops and conference speeches, and range of We! engage, discover and connect cards, We and Me, Inc. helps people from all walks of life to ask the right questions and create conversations that matter
How do we create conversations that matter?
Well for starters, it’s time to ditch the small talk and start focusing on establishing meaningful connections with one another. “When we engage in small talk, we’re effectively taking a ‘sip’ of connection, when what we are really looking for is a ‘gulp’!” Chad explains. Moving past small talk allows us to forge deeper connections with others and enables us to create positive relationships with friends, colleagues, employees and superiors.
Chad asserts the best way to do this is to ask powerful questions. The questions we ask have the ability to shape connection and culture inside the workplace and out. If you want to change the world, start by changing your questions! Though powerful questions come in all shapes and sizes, here’s a handful of Chad’s favorites that are perfect for cutting through small talk and reaching for a deeper connection:
- What brings you joy?
- What struck you?
- What else? (this one’s about allowing people to elaborate. ‘Too often, we cut people off before they’ve had a chance to finish expressing themselves’ Chad explains. By asking them ‘What else?’ we give them encouragement to fully develop their ideas.)
Need more inspiration? Check out these awesome We! Connect cards and start asking your own powerful questions!
Encouraging psychological safety with Catchbox
In order to ask powerful questions, we first need to feel comfortable and secure in our environment. If you ever get a little nervous when speaking to strangers or addressing a crowd, you’ll have first-hand experience of how hard things can be if you don’t feel comfortable in your environment. To be able to express ourselves, develop ideas and, ultimately, create conversations that matter, we need to feel psychologically safe – free from anxiety around what the reaction to our contribution might be. A comprehensive 2-year study from Google found that leading teams from across the company had one thing in common – psychological safety. Top performers in all departments felt comfortable enough to speak their mind, take moderate risks, and stick their necks out when it was needed. The result? Increased productivity, higher levels of worker satisfaction and more frequent breakthroughs.
Chad spends a lot of time creating the kind of environment where people can feel psychologically safe so that in turn they can create conversations that matter. He was recommended Catchbox by not just one, but about eight different people! Having got his hands on one, Chad immediately saw why people were encouraging him to check out the world’s first throwable microphone; “I distinctly remember thinking – this is literally perfect for what I do!” When using Catchbox for the first time, Chad threw it out to the crowd – only for the first recipient to drop it and watch it roll away. To his surprise, the whole room – including the person who dropped it, broke into laughter. “That moment was such a happy realization for me. I often think of laughter as nervousness leaving the body and at that moment you could feel the tension in the room just melt away.”
Breaking down barriers by throwing the box!
Since then, Chad has continued to use Catchbox at every opportunity. ‘As an engagement tool, it allows people to feel playful and psychologically safe enough to ask powerful questions. It can be tricky to create a positive environment for connection with larger audiences. When you’re reaching out to an audience of up to 1800 people, anything that can make people feel comfortable and secure enough to engage is really valuable.’ When it comes to asking questions, Chad believes the playful element involved with catching and throwing allows participants to worry less about their own contribution and more about what others in the group are adding to the conversation. “It really helps people shift their focus from being focused on Me to being focused on We.”
Any tips and tricks from Chad?
As an expert in amplifying connection, belonging and trust, Chad has a few top tips on how to use Catchbox to maximize your audience engagement. ‘Use it as a symbol of the type of engagement you are looking for. For me, holding up a Catchbox is a way of saying; “hey! this thing we’re doing, it’s collaborative! I want you to get involved. This right here, this throwable box, is for your input!’ It also doesn’t hurt to introduce a little surprise and a touch of the shock-factor when you need to get things going. ‘Once I’ve explained a little about what Catchbox is, I throw it. Well actually, I launch it! I can be halfway through a sentence and then off it goes. There’s usually a bit of a gasp, but that’s followed by laughter and plenty of smiles. I find this a great way to kick off the conversation and make people more relaxed at the same time.”
If you would like to learn a little more about Chad, his work and how he creates conversations that matter, head over to his bio page on We and Me, Inc.