How do you handle your important conversations?
Do you plan and organize your difficult conversations BEFORE they take place?
I am a reader. I have always enjoyed reading books to help me better understand myself, those I care about, and the world around me. The last two books I read, ‘Crucial Conversations’ by leadership consultants Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler AND ‘Without Offense – The Art of Giving and Receiving Criticism’ by Dr. John Lund both taught me how to better handle important discussions in a way that is not offensive and can strengthen relationships.
Patterson and group defined difficult conversations as a discussion between two or more people where: (1) the stakes are high, (2) opinions vary, and (3) emotions run strong.
I learned from Patterson’s group that “when participants hold back (because they are afraid of the consequences, want to spare someone’s feelings or don’t want to escalate a conflict) a true dialogue CAN NOT take place.” When you organize the difficult conversations, both participants should be open and remain emotion free.
One of THE most important things I learned in reading Crucial Conversations was to STAY FOCUSED. When you organize your difficult conversations you should be sure you clearly understand WHAT I WANT, WHAT I WANT FOR THE OTHER PERSON and WHAT I WANT FOR THE RELATIONSHIP. I need to also understand before beginning what I DON’T WANT the outcome of the conversation to be. Read more…