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Difficult Conversations RA Training Winter 2017

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Difficult Conversations RA Training Winter 2017

  1. 1. DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS M A K E T H E M E A S I E R !
  2. 2. OVERVIEW 1. Examples of a Difficult Conversation 2. Define the components of a Difficult Conversation 3. Strategies for approaching these conversations differently 4. Think Pair Share time 5. Wrap Up
  3. 3. SO THERES A DOG BARKING OUTSIDE……
  4. 4. WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT IT? • Do you ask your neighbors to do something? • What does that mean about you as a person if you ask them? • How would you even tell them? Are they still going to like you? • Why haven’t they heard it and stopped their dog?
  5. 5. SUGAR COATING DOESN’T HELP! • No matter how much you sugar coat and cover with glitter your hard and fast message about what the other person is doing wrong, or needs to fix, there is no way its not going to explode in the end – either on them, or on you if you just keep the feelings and thoughts to yourself. • YOU GOTTA TALK ABOUT IT!
  6. 6. THE ROSS AND VANESSA STORY •Ross Logan and Vanessa Van Dyke are Area Directors at different schools. Ross Logan works at East University, and Vanessa works at West University. •Ross and Vanessa went to grad school together at North University, and are great friends and colleagues, and have maintained their close friendship over the last 5 years.
  7. 7. THE ROSS AND VANESSA STORY • One fine day – Ross calls Vanessa to ask for her help on an upcoming project that Ross has due the next day. Ross is in a tight pinch, and needs Vanessa’s help in creating a presentation for RA Training. Ross has reached out for help with these kinds of projects before, and although Ross didn’t always think Vanessa did a great job on presentations, Ross was in a tight pinch and knew Vanessa would help out and provide a good presentation for Ross to use the next day in RA Training.
  8. 8. THE ROSS AND VANESSA STORY • Vanessa was happy to help. Vanessa considered Ross a good friend and they had a good history of helping each other out. Vanessa also had a heavy workload on her plate, but Ross clearly sounded distressed and Vanessa wanted to be able to help Ross out and be a good friend. Vanessa decided to help Ross with his presentation, and ended up cancelling her dinner plans with her husband and worked until one in the morning to get the presentation done. • The next morning Ross looks at the PowerPoint presentation that Vanessa sent and gives her a call:
  9. 9. THE WHAT HAPPENED CONVERSATION • Who is right? • Who meant what? • Who is to blame?
  10. 10. WELL, IM RIGHT AND YOU’RE WRONG.• Aka the Truth Assumption. Im right that Im smarter than you. Im right that you drive too fast. Im right that you were inappropriate at Thanksgiving. Im right that the contractor overcharged me. Im right that you should live on campus. Im right that you should have been documented for noise. Im right that this is the better Publix. Im right that Macs are better than PCs Im right that your Mom’s cupcakes are terrible. Im right that everyone at UM drinks alcohol all the time. Im right that we should leave the AC on at night.
  11. 11. WELL, IM RIGHT AND YOU’RE WRONG.• Aka the Truth Assumption. Im right that Im smarter than you. Im right that you drive too fast. Im right that you were inappropriate at Thanksgiving. Im right that the contractor overcharged me. Im right that you should live on campus. Im right that you should have been documented for noise. Im right that this is the better Publix. Im right that Macs are better than PCs Im right that your Mom’s cupcakes are terrible. Im right that everyone at UM drinks alcohol all the time. Im right that we should leave the AC on at night. Im right that Im smarter than you. Im right that you drive too fast. Im right that you were inappropriate at Thanksgiving. Im right that the contractor overcharged me. Im right that you should live on campus. Im right that you should have been documented for noise. Im right that this is the better Publix. Im right that Macs are better than PCs m right that your Mom’s cupcakes are errible. Im right that everyone at UM drinks alcohol all the time. m right that we should leave the AC on at night. Im right that Im smarter than you. Im right that you drive to fast. Im right that you were inappropriate at Thanksgiving. Im right that the contractor o me. Im right that you should live on Im right that you should have been documented for noise. Im right that this is the better Publix. Im right that Macs are better than PCs Im right that your Mom’s cupcakes are terrible. Im right that everyone at UM drinks alco Im right that we should leave the AC on at night. ght that Im smarter than you. Im right that you drive too fast. Im right that you were inappropriate at Thanksgiving. Im right that the contractor overcharged me. Im right that you should live on campus. ght that you should have been documented for e. Im right that this is the better Publix. Im right that Macs are better than PCs Im right that everyone at UM drinks alcohol all the time. hat we should leave the AC on at night. Im right that Im smarter than you. Im right that you drive too fast. Im right that you were inappropriate at Thanksgiving. Im right that the contractor overcharged me. Im right that you should live on campus. Im right that you should have been documented for noise. Im right that this is the better Publix. Im right that Macs are better than PCs Im right that your Mom’s cupcakes are Im right that everyone at UM drinks alcohol all the tim Im right that we should leave the AC on at night. Im right that Im smarter than you. Im right that you drive too fast. Im right that you were inappropriate at Thanksgiving. Im right that the contractor overcharged me. Im right that you should live on campus. Im right that you should have been documented for noise. Im right that this is the better Publix. Im right that Macs are better than PCs Im right that your Mom’s cupcakes are terrible. Im right that everyone at UM drinks alcohol all the time. Im right that we should leave the AC on at night. What Im RIGHT ABOUT
  12. 12. THE WHAT HAPPENED CONVERSATION • The Truth Assumption • What were their intentions? – We assumed we know the intentions of others just like we assume someone’s invisible parts to their identity. – We think we know them, but in fact, we do not. And those assumptions get us in trouble. • BUT who is to blame? – Vanessa said she would do the PowerPoint for me. She did it wrong. Its her fault. 100% – When two small children fight in the back seat, both will be eager to claim the other started it. – But does it matter?
  13. 13. THE FEELING CONVERSATION • AN opera without music • Difficult conversations do not just involve feelings, at their core they are ABOUT feelings. They are an integral part of the conflict and thus need to be considered in the outcome. • Vanessa feels mistreated and underappreciated after I yelled at her, but she never actually stated it during the conversation. But she will still retain those feelings long after the conversation is over. Feelings and conversations have to stay paired during a difficult conversation to understand the whole picture. • Engaging in difficult conversations without talking about feelings may save you from anxiety and may be more efficient, but if feelings are the issue, what are you addressing if you don’t talk about them?
  14. 14. THE IDENTITY CONVERSATION • Im just trying to ask my boss for a raise • Im just trying to tell the neighbors to quiet their dog • Im just trying to tell my residents they are being too loud • But inevitably, the conversations is always about YOU. It will always involve your identity, and you will always be grappling with the fallout of how the message is perceived and if you are rejected or not, or if it causes feelings. • And who is right and wrong and it wouldn’t be a difficult conversation if your feelings weren’t actually entangled in it. That’s WHAT MAKES IT DIFFICULT.!
  15. 15. THE LEARNING CONVERSATIONA Battle of Messages A Learning Conversation The “What Happened?” Conversation Challenge: The situation is more complex than either person can see. Assumption: I know all I need to know to understand what happened. Goal: Persuade them I’m right. Assumption: Each of us is bringing different information and perceptions to the table; there are likely to be important things that each of us doesn’t know. Goal: Explore each other’s stories: how we understand the situation and why. Assumption: I know what they intended. Goal: Let them know what they did was wrong. Assumption: I know what I intended, and the impact their actions had on me. I don’t and can’t know what’s in their head. Goal: Share the impact on me, and find out what they were thinking. Also find out what impact I’m having on them. Assumption: It’s all their fault. (Or it’s all my fault.) Goal: Get them to admit blame and take responsibility for making amends. Assumption: We have probably both contributed to this mess. Goal: Understand the contribution system: how our actions interact to produce this result.
  16. 16. THE LEARNING CONVERSATION A Battle of Messages A Learning Conversation The Feelings Conversation Challenge: The situation is emotionally charged. Assumption: Feelings are irrelevant and wouldn’t be helpful to share. (Or, my feelings are their fault and they need to hear about them.) Goal: Avoid talking about feelings. (Or, let ’em have it!) Assumption: Feelings are the heart of the situation. Feelings are usually complex. I may have to dig a bit to understand my feelings. Goal: Address feelings (mine and theirs) without judgments or attributions. Acknowledge feelings before problem solving. The Identity Conversation Challenge: The situation threatens our identity. Assumption: I’m competent or incompetent, good or bad, lovable or unlovable. There is no in-between. Goal: Protect my all-or-nothing self- image. Assumption: There may be a lot at stake psychologically for both of us. Each of us is complex, neither of us is perfect. Goal: Understand the identity issues on the line for each of us. Build a more complex self- image to maintain my balance better.
  17. 17. THE LEARNING CONVERSATION INSTEAD of trying to persuade others to your point of view, suddenly the conversations shifts to one of learning and seeking to understanding the other person’s point of view and finding a away to educate and share your own. – easy to understand, difficult to master!
  18. 18. THE LENS THROUGH WHICH WE EACH SEE WESTWORLD • Westworld • Virtual Reality • Fake News
  19. 19. THINK PAIR SHARE • Work with your group to think through your assigned example. Talk out how this conversation would go. Map out the three conversations for each person, both you and what you imagine the other person’s answers would be. • The “What Happened” Conversation • The Feelings Conversation • The Identity Conversation
  20. 20. SCENARIO 1 Group Project – one of your group project members isn’t pulling their weight, and no one else in the group wants to say anything, they just want to get the project over with and not let their grade suffer. They are concerned if they say something that person will hamper their effort more. They are just glad to avoid the conflict and work with what minimal effort this person is providing. You are not. You decide you need to talk with him. You failed your last test. You need a good grade on this group project.
  21. 21. SCENARIO 2 Social Media conflict – Your friend posted something you don’t agree with and you are pretty sure its about you. They don’t mention you by name but you still want to address it as the comments feel hurtful and offensive.
  22. 22. SCENARIO 3 Family conflict - You are telling your family you want to change majors, and they have already expressed to you that if you chose to do this, they would not be happy about it.
  23. 23. HOW DO YOU USE THIS INFORMATION FROM HERE? • What are the takeaways – where as an RA do these conversation tools apply? • With residents? • OS? • A/AD? • Peers?
  24. 24. QUESTIONS?

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