Johnnie Moore

Pretzelling in conversation

finding ways to come out of contorting ourselves in conversations
Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Are we contorting ourselves in our conversations... and what if we don't?

Transcript of this video:

I was on a Zoom call yesterday and I used the word “pretzel”, not as a noun, but as a verb. To pretzel or pretzelling, as I called it. Pretzelling is a word I used to describe what I do and what I see others doing when we are forced to adjust who we are to fit in uncomfortably with a meeting. It can almost be a physical thing.

If I pretzel myself, I kinda contort myself in order to fit in and it’s quite uncomfortable. As soon as I said that word and explained that, it got a laugh in the meeting, as if people immediately recognized it.

And I thought to myself, oh, I’ve been casting around for a subject for another video for the past couple of weeks, so I thought I’d make this one.

I think a lot of us are pretzelling in organizations and it absorbs an enormous amount of our energy without perhaps us realizing, especially if we’re quite used to doing it. And it can be quite scary, but quite liberating, to let go of being a pretzel in a meeting and say what we really think or be who we really are.

I wonder if, possibly for some of us anyway, the solitude of the pandemic has given us more of a sense of who we are and maybe some of us anyway are a bit more reluctant to go back into pretzel mode in our various organizations.

And, yeah, coming out of a pretzel can be uncomfortable. We’re probably going to be a little clumsy the first time we do it and so if you’re in a meeting where someone comes out of pretzel, try to be compassionate and accommodating.

My sense is the less we generally pretzel in meetings, the more energy we’ll have for the work at hand.

Photo by Sara Cervera on Unsplash

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