Have you ever stopped to think, before you jump into one of those ‘crucial’ conversations? What if there was a better way of doing this? What if I could know, before I started, how this conversation could end?
The book, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High, by Kerry Patterson and Joseph Grenny discusses just this!
Two insightful principles from that book are:
Learn to Look- continually ask whether you are in or out of dialogue: are you or they purposefully avoiding talking, or alternatively, responding angrily? Silence or violence? Neither of those are productive in crucial conversations; what needs to change?
Make it safe- The #1 stopper of conversation is the lack of safety. When you notice that someone has moved away from dialogue… first make it safer. Most of the time you can intuitively do something that helps if you realize that something needs to be done to ‘make it safer’. Try asking a question, show interest in other’s views, show appropriate touch, make a heart-felt apology or even just smile.
Taking the time to be aware of ourselves and the others in the conversation makes all the difference to even knowing when to take the next step, so first, ‘learn to look’ at yourself and others. Then be sure to ‘make it safe’ for the other person to continue in the conversation… there are lots of ways to do that, but the first step is knowing it needs to be done! Get coached to learn how to consistently navigate those crucial conversations of life!