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Managing Difficult Conversations:9 Questions to Ask Yourself

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Do you avoid difficult conversations? There is no need to avoid them if you focus on the constructive possibilities. Start by asking yourself these 9 critical questions.

Published in: Technology, Business
  • Great work !! Thanks for sharing
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  • Agreed- one of the best with clear & excellent points
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  • This is one of the best presentations I've seen. Great, clear, excellent points, wonderful illustrations. Terrific. A model for excellence. Thank you!!
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  • This is excellent advice, Barbara! There are so many better options than merely winning an argument. You challenge us to be larger people than one who only protects his/her own 'turf'. I love your emphasis on acceptance and listening. I think it's a question of intent. When we are solution-oriented, when our intent is to accept the benefits of cross-pollination, our environment evolves and grows. And so do we. With that intent, we don't need to fear differences, we can welcome them.
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Managing Difficult Conversations:9 Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. 1. managing difficult conversations 9 questions to ask yourself barbara greene logos consulting group
  2. 2. first: a disclaimer
  3. 3. what we’re talking about today isn’t based on this book
  4. 4. i’ve heard it’s good, but i haven’t read it
  5. 5. okay, let’s go!
  6. 6. consider these 3 images
  7. 7. · · · · · · · · ·
  8. 8. what do they have to do with difficult conversations? what do they have to do with you?
  9. 9. back to the 3 images
  10. 10. let’s start in the middle
  11. 11. · · · are you familiar with this brain · · · teaser? · · ·
  12. 12. so,now get out your pencil so, now, get out your pencil
  13. 13. · · · · · · · · ·
  14. 14. · · · · · · · · ·
  15. 15. · · · · · · · · · go ahead— copy this down
  16. 16. · · · · · · connect all 9 dots using 4 straight lines · · · and don’t lift your pencil from the page
  17. 17. give up? already know the answer? this way for the answer
  18. 18. { just one of the possibilities }
  19. 19. did you try to connect all the dots in a square configuration?
  20. 20. free yourself open the box
  21. 21. that puzzle was originally given to engineers to help them think beyond constraints
  22. 22. it’s where that now annoying phrase *think outside the box* comes from
  23. 23. many of us let difficult conversations put us into a box
  24. 24. a box of conflict a box of ugly confrontation
  25. 25. many people want to avoid a conflict or confrontation
  26. 26. conflict and confrontation don’t have to be ugly
  27. 27. yes, difficult conversations can involve bloody bits of gladiation conflict and confrontation don’t have to be ugly
  28. 28. or it can can be a form of Or they be ritualized playfighting just like in thefighting play animal kingdom just like in the animal kingdom
  29. 29. difficult conversations Or it can be ritualized playfighting just like are both inevitable and in the animal kingdom temporary
  30. 30. Or it can be ritualized playfighting just like in the animal kingdom they can provide an energizing creative force, and no one has to feel vanquished
  31. 31. conflict happens as a natural part of life drama may ensue and it may be harsh difficult conversations we can negotiate through the drama and move on we can learn something
  32. 32. true dialogue requires negotiation conflict and confrontation don’t have to be ugly not gladiation
  33. 33. so, go ahead. dive in. even if you are dangerously close to the edge.
  34. 34. keep in mind: opposing views are nothing more than dots of information that need to be connected
  35. 35. if you want to connect the dots creatively ask yourself 9 critical questions
  36. 36. #1 what are my concerns?
  37. 37. have you written down your concerns? how well can you articulate them?
  38. 38. #2 what can i do with the opportunity in front of me?
  39. 39. “the quickest way to kindle a fire is to rub two opposing opinions together” ~ unknown
  40. 40. fire is just one possibility
  41. 41. handling explosive matters is risky
  42. 42. you have to negotiate the delicate divide between danger and creativity
  43. 43. the important lesson: beautiful results can occur
  44. 44. #3 what am i willing to do to make ‘it’ work?
  45. 45. ask yourself: what would success look like?
  46. 46. does it mean you have to win everything? at all costs?
  47. 47. will winning everything make matters worse in the long run?
  48. 48. bridging the chasm between opposing points of view is a centuries-old endeavor
  49. 49. find a way to build a bridge find a larger goal you both share
  50. 50. meet the other person halfway
  51. 51. #4 what is my first step?
  52. 52. one suggestion: accept that great minds think differently
  53. 53. understand that people process information in different ways
  54. 54. remember this image?
  55. 55. that’s the universe of information trying to come into the computer that is your brain
  56. 56. some people need to sort and categorize information before they can process it and work toward a solution
  57. 57. ➡ solution
  58. 58. unfortunately
  59. 59. sometimes when the information has been sorted and the solution has been put into place, it’s difficult for the person to undo the process
  60. 60. then there are other people who have a great big spam filter in their brains
  61. 61. they focus on a few key points and the rest of the data may not even get into their analysis of a situation
  62. 62. ☛ solution
  63. 63. unfortunately
  64. 64. they can miss some important details
  65. 65. the challenge is not to dismiss either approach
  66. 66. doer thinker
  67. 67. meticulous sloppy
  68. 68. analyst visionary
  69. 69. tactical strategic
  70. 70. both approaches are essential to problem solving
  71. 71. #5 how can i communicate more persuasively?
  72. 72. “in true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.” ~ thich nhat hanh
  73. 73. clear, positive language accurate perceptions what it takes appropriate emotions a forward- looking focus
  74. 74. influence and persuasion are the human gifts that separate us from the animals
  75. 75. Or it dive in, ritualized playfighting just like can be in the animal kingdom dude! connect the dots!
  76. 76. influence comes in many forms consider all the possibilities
  77. 77. visualthesaurus.com
  78. 78. something I learned from living in japan: influence requires patience and courage
  79. 79. catch the wave! zen and the art of positive persuasion
  80. 80. #6 do i have the courage to wait before speaking?
  81. 81. be reflective think before you speak
  82. 82. don’t be so quick to disagree don’t be so quick Better say “no” listen first Question
  83. 83. #7 do i have the courage to say “yes, I hear you?”
  84. 84. for a true dialogue to occur, people have to know they have been heard. let them know. yes, i hear you
  85. 85. letting others know you hear and understand their positions doesn’t mean you have to agree with them i understand
  86. 86. it shows you care tell me more. i’m listening
  87. 87. caring enough to find out about the other person’s position helps to build a bridge hang on while I get the engineers
  88. 88. #8 do i have the courage to innovate rather than regulate?
  89. 89. sometimes there’s more than one correct answer
  90. 90. leave the commands behind offer people
  91. 91. options recommendations proposals a portfolio of ideas
  92. 92. the goal is to land safely. it takes a team.
  93. 93. #9 do i have the courage to match my actions to my words?
  94. 94. “any momentary triumph you think you have gained through argument is really a pyrrhic victory. “the resentment and ill-will you stir up is stronger and lasts longer than any demonstrate, momentary change of opinion. don’t explicate “it is much more powerful to get people to agree through your actions, without saying a word.” law 9, the 48 laws of power robert greene
  95. 95. conflict and confrontation don’t have to stop.the.madness. be ugly
  96. 96. asking the critical questions is just the beginning managing conflict and confrontation is a process next steps strive for mastery through continuous negotiation experience brings insight and refinement
  97. 97. smooth seas do not make skillful sailors ~ african proverb
  98. 98. before you go…
  99. 99. recommended reading
  100. 100. recommended reading
  101. 101. recommended reading
  102. 102. thank you {let me know what you think} barbara greene communications consultant executive coach lecturer bgreene@logosconsulting.net © barbara greene 2010 212.268.4791
  103. 103. picture credits “Dive” by Dive” Gladiator Games “Tigers Play- MertzFerdler/flickr © Colosseum fighting” by fighting” www.colosseum.net www.colosseum.net Michael Nichols © National Geographic Watch this “Traffic Light (Long space for Exposure)” Exposure)” proper credit by Roo “Road to Reynolds/Flickr Nowhere” by Nowhere” Maldivian Dude/flickr “Close-up of the Photo of art Thinker” Thinker” installation: “Walking By Brian Men 99” by artist 99” Hillegas Maya Barkai

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