My next series of blogs will focus on the conversations you have in your workplace or at home. Well structured conversations can be productive, and save time and energy. Others can be INTERESTING, but not particularly USEFUL.
There are three things that you need to take care of when you help and support people through really powerful conversations.
Firstly, you need to make sure there aren’t any emotions getting in the way. Any strong emotion – positive or negative – reduces the capacity of our brain to process and be logical. Balancing the emotional content of a conversation is the first critical step. One way to do this is to help the other person to label their emotion – to get it out there and hence, begin to let it go.
Secondly, you need to ask questions that take people into a zone of reflection. It is in the reflection space that people are more likely to have AHA moments, or get motivated to take action. Having a conversation (or meeting) where the answers to your questions just roll of the tongue, or lead into the detail of ‘the whole story’ is not a productive space to be in. Ask questions like….’What is the most important thing that has to change here?’ or ‘Do you know what to do next?’ or ‘In one sentence, what is the real dilemma you have?’
Thirdly, as much as possible you need to be using ‘their thinking‘ not yours. For those of us who have children, we all love our own more than other people’s children (well, most of the time!). And why is that, because they are ours! Ideas are the same, we will engage with thoughts, ideas and solutions that are ours much more than if we are told what to do.
Our program ‘B.E.T.T.E.R. Conversations (TM)’ is our process for teaching our clients how to have those really powerful and productive conversations. We will unpack that process over our next few blogs.
Have a go at having a great conversation today using these three ideas!