"Can We Talk?" - 3 words that can cause a FIGHT or FLIGHT reaction

“Can We Talk”

Lower the temperature before giving feedback

You say the words “Can we talk?”- and it’s likely the other person is now going into a ‘fight or flight’ mode. And at this heightened state, it’s going to take 50% longer for their cortisol level to return to its baseline.

There are 4 steps we can use to lower the temperature.

In this transmission, let’s focus on step 1-Mindset.


  • Mindset

  • Observe

  • Validate

  • Engage

3 quick tips you can apply:

#1 -Flood your brain with Oxygen!

The brain uses 3x more oxygen than our muscles do. When the brain is not getting enough oxygen it affects your mood, concentration and emotions.

Remember to breathe when the stakes are high so you will have more control over your thoughts and reactions!

Inhale for 3, through your nose, exhale for 5 through your mouth

Actor’s tip: Actors do lots of breathing exercises for a more confident voice and decrease anxiety.

#2- What’s your intention?

Feedback is often focused on your objective: “You’re going to change”. Shift your focus instead to your intention:

  • What do you want from this relationship? Dialogue, trust, long-term communication….

  • What do you want them to feel at the end of the session? Reassured, motivated, engaged, encouraged…

When your intention is clear, it creates more trust and has a positive effect on your voice, body language and choice of words.

Actor’s tip: An actor’s job is to move the other character in the scene and if not genuine, the scene does not move forward.

#3- Change your self-talk

Get your self-talk working for you. When faced with a difficult situation or problem, Dan Pink suggests switching pronouns’ when talking to yourself:

  • 1st person “I can do it” (good self-talk)

  • 2nd person “You can do it” (even better)

  • 3rd person “Joel Silverstone can do it!” (best!)

“It always seems easier to give advice to a friend.”

Actor’s tip: Just like an actor, self-distance yourself from the character you play.