It’s that time of year again. Families will gather around
the table; conversations often get heated. It is true, that the conversations
that are most important to us, are the ones that we aren’t are best at.
Learning the art of how to have difficult conversations not only serves us well
in our personal relationships but in the workplace also. What is a crucial
conversation? A crucial conversation is one where opinions vary, stakes are
high, and parties involved have strong emotions. Crucial
Conversations is not about being confrontational, avoiding conflict, or getting
your way. It’s about how to help yourself and others stay in dialogue so you
can get the results you want. When confronted with a difficult
conversation we have three choices: Avoid the conversation
and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation badly and suffer the
consequences or read ahead to master these 7 effective tips to help you
navigate your next crucial conversation. In the book Crucial Conversations the
authors’ layout easy to follow steps to have more effective conversations.
1. Start with Heart – Before beginning the
conversation, have a goal. What is the desired result of this
conversation? What exactly is at stake? Knowing what is at stake
going into the conversation will help you stay true to your convictions and
stay focused during the conversation.
2. Learn to Look – Be on the lookout for a
lack of mutual purpose. Continuously ask yourself whether you are leading
the conversation with dialogue or defensiveness. And if you or the other
party strays toward the latter, protect your conversation from going downhill
with an expression like “I think we’ve moved away from dialogue” or “I’m
sorry. I’ve been trying to force my ideas on you.”
3. Make it Safe – When you notice that you
and others have moved away from dialogue, do something to make it more
comfortable. Ask a question and show interest in others’ views.
Apologies, smiles, even a request for a brief “time out” can help restore
safety when things get dicey.
4. Master your Story – Retrace your path to
find out what facts are behind the story you’re telling. When you have
the facts on your side, it’s hard to deny your argument.
5. State your Path – Share your facts and
conclusions in a way that will make the other party feel safe telling their
6. Explore Others’ Path – Dialogue allows
you to actively inquire about the other party’s views. Now that you both
understand each other, you can emphasize which parts you agree upon and the
areas in which you differ.
7. Move to Action – Come to a consensus
about what will happen, document who does what by when and settle on a way to
Master these skills, and we are confident that you will have better relationships and more productive and happier workplaces. If you want to dive deeper, we can work with you to create a tailor-made program for you, your team or your entire organization. Get in touch now.