As I reflect on our time spent in Southside Virginia during our last VALOR seminar, I am reminded of our training on crucial conversations. A crucial conversation can be one that is difficult, challenging, and/or important. These types of conversations occur in every part of our daily lives. In many cases, it is a conversation that we would rather avoid. But, avoiding the encounter often compounds the problem or results in a feeling being stuck.
During our seminar we learned techniques and best practices for having crucial conversations. Here are some quick, practical steps:
In this phase of the conversation you need to learn as much as you can from the other person. Don’t take what you learn personally and don’t interrupt.
Acknowledgement means showing that you have heard and understood. Just because you are acknowledging your understanding of the situation, doesn’t mean that you agree with the other party.
Clarify your position without minimizing the other party’s position. Don’t forget that you are likely someone else’s antagonist.
Brainstorm and inquire for possible solutions. Build on agreed upon ideas to accomplish the identified purpose.
After putting our learning into practice, it became clear that acknowledging a mutual purpose and working towards a common goal is a very important part of having a successful crucial conversation. As a competitive person, it is a bad habit of mine to set out to “win” the conversation for the sake of winning. But, what good does winning the conversation accomplish? For me, changing my mindset from winning to accomplishing a common goal is key to having a successful crucial conversation.
Next time you encounter a difficult conversation, take a few minutes to prepare yourself and remember these quick tips to have a more successful outcome.
And…as a bonus…enjoy some pictures from our tours!