Having gotten the chance to work in corporate America and family businesses over the past 20 years has continued to demonstrate to me that the ability to have productive conversations is one of the most critical steps to overall business and personal success.
I’ve developed a 10 step formula that if followed will allow you to have more productive and rewarding dialogue. Here it is:
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- Learn to shut up and really listen with generosity and curiosity.
- Learn to ask good questions.
- Learn to manage your own emotional reactivity. Take a quick break if needed but get back to the dialogue in a reasonably short time – never pout or brood – there’s no time for that.
- Learn to have a calm, clear, spacious mind rather than preparing your answer as the other person speaks — take a minute to think as you learn the value of creating some moments of silence in the dialogue.
- Learn to keep an open mind and see the other person’s viewpoint as legitimate even when it doesn’t make sense to you or your worldview.
- Learn to be succinct and resist endless debate or going over it;one more time; find a win-win.
- Take responsibility for creating a persuasive, well thought out case for your idea and accept it and move on if the rest of the team doesn’t adopt your idea – it’s not personal.
- Learn to be respectful, play nice and get along with others even when you have significant differences of opinions or different styles – assume best intent in others.
- Be responsible for fostering a cooperative, supportive teamwork environment or find another team, or find an occupation where you can succeed as a lone ranger.
- Find some peace, happiness and fun in your life, life is short.
Remember practice is the key to mastering any new skill. Commit yourself to embracing the conversation for success formula and give each other feedback and I promise you you’ll have more success and your relationships. Play to your potential!