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The goal of the lecture is to provide information. If a person has the information, that means he is well equipped. The lecture is primarily intended for those who do not have any special experience communicating in social networks, but are planning to start participating in them. To start with, there has to be an objective. I have to have a clear understanding of why I am going into the network, how, and so on. Every person has to make this objective clear for himself.
Secondly, Rav has said on many occasions that any action that wasn’t prepared deliberately is pointless. There is one very important law in psychology: The shift of the motive to the goal. When a person starts to engage in a new activity, he does not have any motive. The motive is the inner spring that forces a person to act. But a person has a goal. And when he works on this goal with the help of the efforts of will, the environment, discipline, and so on, then at some moment, a motive suddenly emerges. This is a very important thing and we have to understand that it’s very important to learn to do this in social networks.
Let me repeat. It’s very important for a person to understand why he is going there, why this is necessary. His time has to be structured. And it has to be prepared so it won’t be coming “off the top of his head.” The efforts he makes in the beginning will provide the energy, called a motive.
A person who works on communication and socialization has to know that there is an effect called “communication burn-out.” Stated simply, it’s when a person has socialized too much and simply can’t bring himself to enter a site, a blog, or another place and continue socializing. We have to be very watchful of this and make sure that the amount of time and the quality of communication are programmed. That is, you can’t sit there for 24 hours straight. A person who does that might spend a month or two in social networks, but after that we won’t see him there any longer. We have to clearly trace the level of a person’s tolerance, of how much he is able to endure. This is an individual matter.
There are 3 signs that can help you tell that you’ve gone overboard: 1. You become more aggressive 2. You become disoriented: You don’t know or understand how to do something (unless this is a personality trait) 3. Psychosomatic problems emerge – you literally start being sick.
If the communication is planned correctly, if a person treats it like work, then none of this will occur.
Another aspect that is part of this communication burn-out is how I present myself when I socialize with other people. In this regard, everything is simple. There is a misconception that it is possible to learn to influence people using psychology, hypnosis, and other things of this sort, that I can become a magician or wizard and everyone will listen to me. But that’s impossible. People interact with one another in a remarkable way and what happens is the following. In order to avoid a situation where you hang out there for two or three months and then burn out, unable to come near there for years thereafter, it’s very important to be authentic in any dialogue. Be genuine, be yourself. You don’t have to lie or pretend you are someone you’re not. Besides, all of this gets revealed instantly because lying is obvious to everyone besides the person lying. A person who’s lying is sure that no one sees it, but actually, everyone besides him sees it. This is an interesting phenomenon. Therefore, when we enter any communication, we have to try to tell the truth, be as honest and sincere as possible.
One more very important condition related to this is to make sure you don’t burn out. If a person pretends to be someone he’s not for a long time, then eventually he falls out of the communication and is unable to keep socializing. This is true for any form of socialization.
The next highly important point is: What is my role when I come into contact with people? The first question a person should ask himself is: What kind of relationship or interaction am I inviting people into? This also has to be prepared because suppose I enter contact with people first, planning to figure out how it will work later. In practice, usually things start to get confusing, difficulties arise, and a person is forced to lose the contact. It’s very important for a person to understand the boundaries: Who am I, what am I, what do I want, and what kind of information do I plan on delivering to another person? This requires clear understanding that becomes like an order.
The next point is: How do I present myself during the communication? Generally speaking, there are many roles, but now we will talk about two of them: The role of the expert and the role of the regular user. If you are not an expert in the area you are talking about, then you shouldn’t say are because an expert is someone who has the attributes of this status. He has knowledge, connections, and experience in this area. If you don’t have that experience, knowledge, status, and attributes, then don’t present yourself as an expert. You will be very quickly thrown off that pedestal and won’t be able to communicate even on the level of the average user. That is, a person must know exactly which area he is an expert in. If we are not experts in any of the areas, then we simply present ourselves as regular users. We have to lose the moralizing, bossy tone that might emerge. We have to simply communicate with another person.
When we communicate with other people, sometimes we encounter a feeling of abashment. In psychology this is called a disintegrated state. What does that mean? After communicating with someone, I am left with an unpleasant sensation, like residue. People immediately react to this state by thinking that they did something wrong and that something isn’t right. They start making themselves feel guilty or simply run away from the unpleasant sensation. However, this sensation – that you feel nasty and disgusting – is actually very good. This sensation of disgust is a sign that I came out of the communication in a disintegrated state. And that’s all. So next I have to make certain efforts, become integrated, and move past this state. It’s like inhaling and exhaling, disintegration and integration. Don’t get scared of these feelings,
but don’t ignore them either. If the communication leaves you with an unpleasant sensation, that just indicates that you came out at a specific phase.
Unlike the rest of the world, we have articles, lessons, and so on, and we have a group, friends. These instruments enable us to get our bearings together quickly and keep on moving. Moreover, the psychological force that a person perceives as a lighthearted feeling arises by virtue of experience, which is something he acquires during the conversations. This is what we call a change of states.
This brings us to the next point: Experience. Experience is very important when it comes to communication. A person can spend decades preparing at universities, but he won’t advance anywhere until he enters real communication. Therefore, the most important thing for us is to start communicating. Naturally, we will make mistakes at first, and we have to record them, memorize them, and then discern them and find answers to these questions.
The next point is: How do we address people, especially if we are planning to become the educators of the generation? Psychologically, an educator is a person who is on two levels simultaneously. On one level, he knows the information about the method that we convey. Moreover, he has to constantly expand this knowledge and gather more information. And at the same time, a person is on the level of the people he is talking to. It’s like a dual existence. Rav has talked about this in various lessons and programs. We have to remember that we are adults living on our planet, in our world, and we have to speak the same language as the person we are talking to. We have to have a clear understanding of who we have in front of us and what is the best way or language to talk to this person. This is something we learn from experience and by gaining certain knowledge that’s more specific. Experience is very important in this regard.
The next point is related to conflicting situations. When a person starts to communicate, it is inevitable that he will enter conflicting situations, which may involve different forms of expressing aggression. When we start to work on this and gain experience, we will discern and understand these things better through specific examples. Aggression is a force of desire, so an aggressive person is a person with a big desire. But aggression can be expressed positively as well – it is informative, authentic communication. It’s very important to understand that aggression is not just when I curse out another person, telling him to go to hell. Aggression can also be a joke, an anecdote, irony, or a stereotype (for example, all men are jerks). This is also a form of expressing aggression. It’s best for this to be written down in some way, and for these files to be saved so later it would be possible to view them and work on the mistakes.
The next situation is called “the law of succession.” This is the main social law, which says: You said it, now do it. Because of this law, people get themselves into unpleasant situations. It’s best if we are aware of this and understand that if the process has gotten too far, we have to stop it, break it off, and come out of it. It’s better to take a break and keep going at a later time than to drag things on. We have to internalize the fact that each of us has the right to take a break, especially in virtual space. If you feel that something didn’t go right, then stop and that’s all. You have to calm down, figure things out, and continue only after doing that.
Another very important point is this: When we begin our contact with someone and meet them for the first time, it’s very important to keep the first contact “clean.” When a person comes into contact with another person, he is somewhat split, and we shouldn’t add anymore fissure because that way we will lose the person. What does that mean? When we start getting to know a person, we shouldn’t give dual messages. A dual message is when I say one thing but I mean another. For example, a joke, an anecdote, or irony are dual messages. Starting communication with a dual message is prohibited. In nine cases out of ten, you will simply lose contact with that person. He won’t even understand why he doesn’t want to communicate with you. We have to start clearly, directly, without any catches or double meanings. This is an important point because there is also some personal information you shouldn’t state about yourself. What I say and what I don’t say has to be decided during the preparation phase. I have to determine the objective of my communication, what kind of interaction I am inviting a person into, what I want to achieve, and where I am willing to stop.
Question: Sometimes a contact succeeds precisely because of dual messages. When you speak directly, simply the way you think, you might seem boring. But when you use jokes or dual meanings, that’s when the contact starts to grow on the person. Or is this not considered an initial contact?
Answer: I am telling you general principles, but of course there are exceptions. There’s one more layer I would like to tell you about.
What is style, my personal style of interacting with other people? This style is individual and every person has to find it for himself. For example, if I start joking around, I might lose even that one person who might have remained with me after 5 minutes of conversation, but on the other hand, someone might like a conversation much more if it includes a joke. In this regard it’s very important for a person to try out different techniques and find the style that works for him. This is very important. The best style is your personal style - authenticity. Don’t copy anyone. Be yourself. This is very important when you communicate. If you stick to this rule, it will make up for the other technical nuances. Besides, you can’t avoid making mistakes.
Rav has said that people don’t want to know “Why.” They want to change their state. This is a fundamental paradigm of our message: Trying to explain how something happens, why, and so on is the task of the people working on content, whereas our task is to help a person.
There is one more important point that has psychological roots. We can enter contact either in a positive or a negative vein. The negative way of communicating might work for some people, but in principle, it is one more way to break off contact. We know that people feel a great lack of optimism, a smooth, calm, positive attitude. If we transmit this message, it will make our communication with other people happen more easily. This is called a “bluff” because everyone goes through ups and downs – depressions and manic states. It’s just that some people conceal this and appear self-confident, positive, while others don’t know how to
conceal it. It’s like a game. But in our case, besides our ability to play, unlike many other people we also have a reason to be joyful, and we can share that joy.
Question: What’s the best way to begin the communication in order to make the person like you right away?
Answer: If a person asks a question, it means he has some way of answering it. This is a law, a rule. If a person asks you a question, you should immediately show an interest in what he thinks about it. This will get a conversation going because again, people don’t want to know “Why,” but they want to change the state. An interesting person is not one who is a source of information, but one who has a reaction to what another person says. That is, if a person asks a question, then you should ask him to say what he thinks about it, and once he answers, it’s very important to give him your reaction. Even though the other person may have talked for 10 minutes and you - for 15 seconds, he will come out of the communication thinking that you are an interesting person.
Question: How can we smoothly bring the conversation back to the main topic if it strays to another one?
Answer: In order to constantly stay in your vein, preparation is extremely important. A person must know exactly what goal he is pursuing, how, and what kind of interaction he is entering. This will happen easily if we prepare for every action we make.
Question: What’s the right way to present arguments in favor of my point of view in order to convince the person I’m talking to?
Answer: You shouldn’t do that. You shouldn’t convince anyone of anything. Our task is to build a relationship where a person will be left with a pleasant, gentle sensation from the contact. As soon as you start wanting to convince someone of something, then you should immediately take a break, stop, and ask yourself: What am I doing now? Rav has said on many occasions that there is nothing worse than trying to convince a person of something. To convince means to impose your power. And at that moment, no information gets conveyed. Rather, the issue at stake is status: Who’s smarter.
Question: Which topics is it best to avoid altogether? What boundaries are there? Which topics are clearly ineffectual for communicating?
Answer: The topics are decided by the specialists working on content. But you should try to avoid stereotypes. Most disagreements on national and racial topics emerge due to stereotypes. This situation is very difficult to reverse if you said something without thinking. If we detach from ourselves just a little bit and listen to people, conveying our message precisely in the language that the person uses, then there will be
fewer questions like this. The answer to the question of “Which topics should we avoid?” comes with experience.
Question: Which topics and “game pieces” will always win?
Answer: The topics that always win are relationships between men and women, sexual relations, and children’s upbringing. Semyon Vinokur studied with Alexander Mita, who said that people are interested in money, love, and death. I don’t know if it’s worthwhile to get into that, but we do have to know this information. And again, this is something that comes with experience, preparation, and the purposefulness of the message we are giving.
Question: How can we learn to avoid going too far and saying something unnecessary, and stopping in time?
Answer: Every one of us has a right, and moreover, an obligation to take a break. Here’s an example from life: Have you ever been in a situation where you’re driving a car and another driver dents your car? In this situation the most important thing is to stop and breathe. A person who can take a time-out in this situation will come out of it well, while a person who does not allow himself to take a time-out will get into an unpleasant situation. This is true in everything. If you take a break, then nothing horrible will happen. You have to calm down, think about it, and then take the next step.
Question: I want to make sure I understand this. “People don’t want to know ‘Why,’ but they want to change the state” – does that mean we shouldn’t explain why the crisis emerged, but only how to solve it?
Answer: When communicating with other people, we will have materials to disseminate which explain this well, where the balance between “why and how” is expressed very well. When do we answer the question, “Why”? This is an expert position. We have already said that a person must know exactly in which area he is an expert. Here’s another case. Suppose I am a PhD in psychology. I am considered an expert. I have a diploma and I start to talk. 9 out of 10 people will cross me out of the experts list just because they will consider me a freak. And that’s all. A position of an expert is very subtle. It is necessary to prepare for this deliberately. There are certain laws in this regard. Therefore, it’s best not to do this at all, but to present yourself as a regular user. Just talk to people, and through regular communication, unobtrusively convey the information. But don’t do it head-on. Head-on doesn’t’t work. It causes resistance and the question, “Who are you, anyway?”
Question: Does it make sense for every person to communicate with anyone? There are 30 of us here. So 20 of us will communicate with 20 people, but at the same time we could be bringing the information to thousands of people. Isn’t this a step back?
Answer: It’s very important not to be fake. We have specific qualities. And the people who end up around us have similar qualities. These are exactly the people we will communicate with. If a person has opposite qualities than you, then don’t force yourself and him, and don’t continue communicating with him. Nothing will come of this communication. If you are authentic, then people who like and understand what you are talking about will gather around you. Our task is simply to expand this circle bigger and bigger. In principle, there are not that many different personalities. There are about 20 types of people, so it’s not an infinite amount by any means.
Question: I’m not denying the need and use of personal communication, but when I spend an hour or two talking to one person, I can be using that time to place information on 2, 3, or 4 sites that are visited by 50 thousand people. That way I can bring the information to 200 thousand people.
Answer: This question belongs the area of the people who will talk directly about the technicalities.
Question: What causes disintegration?
Answer: Disintegration is an unpleasant situation, or in simple words, when a person is puzzled. We don’t have experience of being in a puzzled state because we have always been taught to be in control of ourselves. If we carefully read what Rav recommends to us in the area of children’s upbringing, he actually suggests constantly ping-ponging a child, like an accordion, so he won’t have that controlled, integrated state. Because we grew up in a culture where we feel good when we are in an integrated state, we feel bad when we are disintegrated. These are two states, like inhaling and exhaling. These are absolutely natural states. When I come into contact with another person, I already have to be in a split state. Otherwise I won’t be able to come into contact with him. If we constantly attune ourselves to the fact that this state is normal, then at some point we will stop perceiving it as bad.
Why does this happen? It’s because we have a picture of how a contact should happen, but the actual contact does not always coincide with the picture I had planned. And this difference creates an unpleasant sensation. Accordingly, the greater the difference is, the more unpleasant it is. It can’t be any other way. The only way for me to be in an integrated state is by not communicating with anyone. When a person becomes disintegrated, he goes through training, and that indicates development.
Question: I would like to understand the issue of aggression. You said it can be expressed through a joke or an anecdote. What conclusions should I draw from that? That it’s not bad?
Answer: It’s not bad at all. There is something called manipulation, which is when a person does one thing but means another. We manipulate people all over the place. This is a very important part of a person’s life. But manipulation stops being manipulation when I understand that I am manipulating. Everything starts with the goal: I want to bring information to a person in a certain form. One of the ways I might be able to do that
is through a joke. It depends on what kind of form it will happen in. One important point here is that there has to be an outward tendency. So aggression is not just when I call someone an idiot.
Question: We automatically tend to think that aggression is bad. So how can we understand what is good and what is bad from the point of view of communication in social networks?
Answer: I think this is determined by the goal and the initial mindset. How it turns out is trivial. Looking at the big picture, there is the goal, preparation, and authenticity. And here’s one more piece of useful information. Integration and disintegration in networks is called “trolling.” And some of the people socializing in networks are very experienced at this. These people wait for a new person to arrive so they could play him up until he literally feels sick. There are thousands of examples of how to do that. And there are several places where it is possible to practice this. There, everything is aimed at making a person run away.
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