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Seeing interaction

“There are two things that you have to do: One is to see interaction and not go into people’s heads. But the other is the timescale (…) you see how precise and fast it is (…) what goes on is regularly less than simple reaction time. (…) It really is being able to see it in slow motion.” – Janet Bavelas


Look at one and the same conversation (e.g. this one) in two ways:

  1. First, look at only one person and start thinking hard about what’s going on in the person’s mind, look at what the person is feeling, why she/he is doing what she/he does, what the person is thinking, focus completely on the individual.
  2. Go and get a coffee and afterwards look at the same conversation again.
  3. Look only at what’s happening between the people. What you are looking for has to be what somebody does observably – physically or vocally – that the other person would notice and that was aimed at the other person, that would effect the other person.


This challenge was given to us by Janet Bavelas in episode 10 “Seeing interaction” of the SIMPLY FOCUS podcast. We visited Janet on Vancouver Island in April and had the honor to spend some truly inspiring and stimulating days with her. Janet’s consequent focus on interaction is amazing. And her & her team’s work around microanalysis of face-to-face dialogue is not only fascinating, it also is groundbreaking in making visible, accessible and teachable how interactions work.

You can listen to the full podcast here >>. For the challenge of the week please go to minute 38:07.


Listen to the SIMPLY FOCUS podcast here!