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Challenging
Conversations
Communication &
Perception
How many legs
do you see?
Strive first to understand,
then be understood
Everyone wants to heard and understood for
who they are. Each person wants to be
appreciated and valued.
When you listen, magic happens.
Listening allows a leader to been seen as a
servant, not parent, judge, or critic. Listening
builds others. Listening builds trust.
What are we really saying?
Words
Tone Body
Language
Communication is 7% about WHAT you say
and 93% about WHO you say it to!
7%
55%
38%
How do you think the communication pie is divided?
Definition
com·mu·ni·ca·tion
• an act or instance of transmitting
• a process by which information is exchanged
between individuals through a common system
of symbols, signs, or behavior
communication
• c.1384, "to impart, share," lit. "to make common”
Model for Communication
Challenging Conversations
A discussion between
two of more people
when two or more
people where:
(1) stakes are high
(2) opinions vary, and
(3) emotions run strong
McKinley Solutions Inc. © 7
T-Charts - Activity
What did I want to say? What did I really say?
McKinley Solutions Inc. © 9
Leadership and
Challenging Conversations
For a conversation to qualify as a “crucial
conversation” it has to have an impact on
the quality of your life.
Does
employee
feedback
have an
impact on
life?
Can it be
touchy and
sensitive?
Can employee
feedback be a
challenging
conversation?
When we face
Challenging Conversations
we have 3 choices…
Choice #1
1. We can avoid them.
Choice #2
2. We can face them and handle them poorly.
Choice #3
3. We can face them and handle them well.
continue
Communication & Challenging Conversations PCMA 2014 Montreal
Communication & Challenging Conversations PCMA 2014 Montreal
Communication & Challenging Conversations PCMA 2014 Montreal
Choosing to Have the
Conversation
• At times we can plan how we want a 
conversation to go. 
• Other times, the conversation is spontaneous.
• You have to be prepared to accept the 
consequences of any conversation you have. 
Communication & Challenging Conversations PCMA 2014 Montreal
Introduction
Practice
doesn’t
make
perfect –
but perfect
practice
makes
perfect.
Why is this so important?
What are the results of NOT having
challenging conversations?
• Low employee 
morale
• Reduced efficiencies
• Increased costs
• Project delays
You can’t hide forever!
CrucialConversations
More than just in the workplace…
• These conversational 
skills are not just for 
the workplace.
• These conversational 
skills can improve 
your relationships, 
revitalize your 
community and 
improve your personal 
health. 
The Power of Dialogue
Dialogue: The free flow of meaning between
two or more people
Pool of Shared Meaning
– Composed of thoughts and feelings; informs
us and propels us into action
– Results when everyone feels safe
– Enhances people’s willingness to act on
their decisions
Pool Of Shared
Meaning
Shared meaning is 
composed of 
thoughts and 
feelings (ours and 
theirs) and informs 
and propels us into 
action.
SharedMeaning
SharedMeaning
Benefits of a Shared Pool
of Meaning
1. Successful dialogue results when everyone 
feels safe enough to add their meaning to the 
shared pool of meaning 
2. Shared meaning enhances people’s willingness 
to act on their decisions. 
Know What You Really Want
Conversation. Focus on What you 
Want Out of the ConversationAsQ: What do I really want:
 for myself?
 for the other person?
 for the relationship?
 for the organization?
Words Speak Volumes
Move from “but” to “and” mentality.
StartWithHeart
Learn to Recognize
Challenging
Conversations
The sooner you notice you’re not in
dialogue, the quicker you can get back to
dialogue, and lower the cost.
What is your Style Under
Stress?
Style Under Stress Quiz
SILENCE: purposefully withholding information
from the dialogue. Used to avoid creating a
problem. Always restricts the flow of meaning.
Common forms of silence:
MASKING: understating or selectively showing what you
actually think. Sarcasm, Sugarcoating, Couching, etc.
AVOIDING: not addressing the real issues. Changing
subject, Shifting the focus to others, etc.
WITHDRAWING: not engaging in the conversation any
longer. Exiting conversation or room all together.
Style Under Stress Quiz
Style Under Stress Quiz
VIOLENCE: convincing, controlling, or
compelling others to your viewpoint. Violates
safety by forcing meaning into the pool.
Common forms:
CONTROLLING: coercing others to your way of
thinking. Cutting others off, overstating your facts,
speaking in absolutes, dominating conversation.
LABELING: stereotyping or categorizing people.
Name-calling, generalizing
ATTACKING: belittling or threatening others
Learn to Look
for 2 things:
•When the 
conversation turns 
challenging
• People don’t feel 
safe
When a Conversation
Turns Challenging…
1.Clarify what you really want.
2.Clarify what you really don’t
want.
3.Present your brain with a
more complex problem.
Learn to Look:
Content and Conditions
There is a need for Dual‐
Processing during 
challenging 
conversations: 
–Look at content 
(what) 
–Look at conditions 
(why)
Make It Safe:
Purpose and Respect
When others move to silence
or violence, STEP OUT.
3.MakeItSafe
Make It Safe:
Purpose and Respect
Which condition of safety is at risk?
Mutual Purpose
Do others believe you care about
their goals?
Mutual Respect
Do others believe you respect
them?
3.MakeitSafe
Apologize and Contrast
Apologize when you have
made a mistake.
Contrast to fix
misunderstandings.
 Start with what you 
don't intend or mean. 
 Then explain what you 
do intend or mean
3.MakeitSafe
Try to Contrast
I don’t
want to….
I do want
to…
Harness Your Emotions
If we take control of our
emotions and stories, they
won’t control us.
4.MasterYourStories
Feel Act
See/ hear   Tell A Story    Feel   Act
State Your Path
 SHARE your facts
 TELL your story (facts + conclusion)
 ASK for others’ paths (humility)
 TALK tentatively 
 ENCOURAGE testing ‐ make it safe for 
others to express differing views
Talking tools for sensitive topics
Learning to Listen
Effective communication begins with
effective listening, such that you build
trust and work toward achieving
insight through a step by step process.
Listening Defined
“Be a good listener. Your ears
will never get you in trouble.”
~ Frank Tyger
• For leisure and pleasure
• To take part in a dialogue or discussion
• To gather information
• To receive instructions
• To comprehend
• To get the essence of what is being said
Reasons we Listen
Benefits of Effective Listening Skills for
Personal Growth and Development
Learning the skill of Effective Listening benefits
personal development and relationships:
• Effective Communication
• Decreased Misconceptions
• Stronger Connections
• Personal Development
Hearing Listening≠
Listening is an active process of communication
that involves comprehending or understanding
the meaning of what is being said before a
response is made.
The stages of the listening
process occur in sequence:
1. Hearing
2. Attention
3. Understanding
4.Remembering
5.Evaluating
6.Responding
Stages in the Listening
Process
Hearing Attention Understanding Remembering Evaluating Responding
Asking the Right Questions
Closed-ended questions allow for dichotomous
answers: Yes/No - True/False - This/That
It encourages short or single-word answers.
Open-ended questions encourage full, meaningful
answers.
It draws out the speaker’s own knowledge and
emotions.
Active Listening
4 Listening Tools for helping others
share their paths to action    
–ASK them to tell their stories
–MIRROR to confirm feelings
–PARAPHRASE to acknowledge their story
–PRIME when you’re getting nowhere
Move to Action:
Decision Making
 Command: Decisions made by authority
 Consult: Input gathered from the group.
 Vote: An agreed-upon percentage swings the
decision.
 Consensus: Everyone comes to an
agreement and supports the final decision.
Finish Clearly
 Determine who does what by when. 
 Make deliverables crystal clear. 
 Set a follow‐up time. 
 Record the commitments and then 
follow up. 
 Finally, hold people accountable to 
their promises.
Feedback is all about
INFORMATION
Feedback can be positive, negative or simply neutral.
Without feedback, the performer is like a blind worker.
The failure to perform feedback is a feedback itself: NO
FEEDBACK, and communicates the message that no
one cares about performance or the performer.
People want to excel. And to know how they are doing,
they need feedback information.
Asking the Right Questions
Closed-ended questions allow for
dichotomous answers:
Yes/No - True/False - This/That
It encourages short or single-word answers
Open-ended questions encourage full,
meaningful answers
It draws out the speaker’s own
knowledge and emotions
Ten Common Mistakes in
Giving Feedback
1.The feedback judges individuals, not actions.
2.The feedback is too vague.
3.The feedback speaks for others
4.Negative feedback gets sandwiched
between positive messages.
5.The feedback is exaggerated with
generalities.
Ten Common Mistakes in
Giving Feedback
6.The feedback psychoanalyzes the motives
behind behaviour.
7.The feedback goes on too long.
8.The feedback contains an implied threat.
9.The feedback uses inappropriate humour.
10.The feedback is a question, not a
statement.
4 - Step
Feedback Model
Step 1 Identify the behavior
Step 2 Describe the effects of behavior
Step 3 Describe change you would like to see
Step 4 Gain commitment to change
Characteristics of a
Good Feedback System
P – Performance standard oriented
E – Easily understandable
R – Routed to the right person
F – Frequent
O – On target
R – Relevant
M – Measurable
E – Expressed positively
R – Real and Honest
S – Self-administered
The Coaching Concept
Evaluate to determine knowledge,
skill and confidence levels.
Define objectives that can be
measured periodically.
Clarify direction, goals and accountability.
Encourage peer coaching.
The Coaching Concept
Coaching involves giving advice, skills building,
creating challenges, removing barriers, building
better processes, learning through discovery, etc.
Deal with emotional obstacles by
helping them through change.
Give feedback.
Lead by example.
Clear Direction?
• Where are you going?
Clear Strategy?
• How are you going to get there?
Clear set of Expectations?
• What does your team expect
from you ?
• What do you expect from the
team?
61McKinley Solutions Inc. ©
The Challenge of Change
1. Why are we changing?
2. What is in it for me?
3. What can we/I to do
differently?
4. What tools/support do we
have?
5. How will we be
measured?
© 2011 McKinley Solutions
Guiding Questions
STOP-START-CONTINUE
Individual & Group Challenge:
Use a Start-Stop-Continue
template to create specific
action for yourself
63McKinley Solutions Inc. ©
Take Action Now
Communication & Challenging Conversations PCMA 2014 Montreal
Mark R. Thompson
w: www.mckinleysolutions.com
e: mark@mckinleysolutions.com
t: 888-769-1577
www.twitter.com/mckinleysolns
www.slideshare.net/mckinleysolutions
www.delicious.com/mckinleysolutions
www.flickr.com/photos/mckinleysolutions
www.facebook.com/mckinleysolutions
www.linkedin.com/company/mckinley-solutions

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Communication & Challenging Conversations PCMA 2014 Montreal

  • 3. Strive first to understand, then be understood Everyone wants to heard and understood for who they are. Each person wants to be appreciated and valued. When you listen, magic happens. Listening allows a leader to been seen as a servant, not parent, judge, or critic. Listening builds others. Listening builds trust.
  • 4. What are we really saying? Words Tone Body Language Communication is 7% about WHAT you say and 93% about WHO you say it to! 7% 55% 38% How do you think the communication pie is divided?
  • 5. Definition com·mu·ni·ca·tion • an act or instance of transmitting • a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior communication • c.1384, "to impart, share," lit. "to make common”
  • 7. Challenging Conversations A discussion between two of more people when two or more people where: (1) stakes are high (2) opinions vary, and (3) emotions run strong McKinley Solutions Inc. © 7
  • 8. T-Charts - Activity What did I want to say? What did I really say?
  • 9. McKinley Solutions Inc. © 9 Leadership and Challenging Conversations For a conversation to qualify as a “crucial conversation” it has to have an impact on the quality of your life. Does employee feedback have an impact on life? Can it be touchy and sensitive? Can employee feedback be a challenging conversation?
  • 10. When we face Challenging Conversations we have 3 choices…
  • 12. Choice #2 2. We can face them and handle them poorly.
  • 13. Choice #3 3. We can face them and handle them well. continue
  • 17. Choosing to Have the Conversation • At times we can plan how we want a  conversation to go.  • Other times, the conversation is spontaneous. • You have to be prepared to accept the  consequences of any conversation you have. 
  • 20. Why is this so important?
  • 21. What are the results of NOT having challenging conversations? • Low employee  morale • Reduced efficiencies • Increased costs • Project delays You can’t hide forever!
  • 22. CrucialConversations More than just in the workplace… • These conversational  skills are not just for  the workplace. • These conversational  skills can improve  your relationships,  revitalize your  community and  improve your personal  health. 
  • 23. The Power of Dialogue Dialogue: The free flow of meaning between two or more people Pool of Shared Meaning – Composed of thoughts and feelings; informs us and propels us into action – Results when everyone feels safe – Enhances people’s willingness to act on their decisions
  • 24. Pool Of Shared Meaning Shared meaning is  composed of  thoughts and  feelings (ours and  theirs) and informs  and propels us into  action. SharedMeaning
  • 25. SharedMeaning Benefits of a Shared Pool of Meaning 1. Successful dialogue results when everyone  feels safe enough to add their meaning to the  shared pool of meaning  2. Shared meaning enhances people’s willingness  to act on their decisions. 
  • 26. Know What You Really Want Conversation. Focus on What you  Want Out of the ConversationAsQ: What do I really want:  for myself?  for the other person?  for the relationship?  for the organization?
  • 28. Learn to Recognize Challenging Conversations The sooner you notice you’re not in dialogue, the quicker you can get back to dialogue, and lower the cost.
  • 29. What is your Style Under Stress? Style Under Stress Quiz
  • 30. SILENCE: purposefully withholding information from the dialogue. Used to avoid creating a problem. Always restricts the flow of meaning. Common forms of silence: MASKING: understating or selectively showing what you actually think. Sarcasm, Sugarcoating, Couching, etc. AVOIDING: not addressing the real issues. Changing subject, Shifting the focus to others, etc. WITHDRAWING: not engaging in the conversation any longer. Exiting conversation or room all together. Style Under Stress Quiz
  • 31. Style Under Stress Quiz VIOLENCE: convincing, controlling, or compelling others to your viewpoint. Violates safety by forcing meaning into the pool. Common forms: CONTROLLING: coercing others to your way of thinking. Cutting others off, overstating your facts, speaking in absolutes, dominating conversation. LABELING: stereotyping or categorizing people. Name-calling, generalizing ATTACKING: belittling or threatening others
  • 32. Learn to Look for 2 things: •When the  conversation turns  challenging • People don’t feel  safe
  • 33. When a Conversation Turns Challenging… 1.Clarify what you really want. 2.Clarify what you really don’t want. 3.Present your brain with a more complex problem.
  • 34. Learn to Look: Content and Conditions There is a need for Dual‐ Processing during  challenging  conversations:  –Look at content  (what)  –Look at conditions  (why)
  • 35. Make It Safe: Purpose and Respect When others move to silence or violence, STEP OUT. 3.MakeItSafe
  • 36. Make It Safe: Purpose and Respect Which condition of safety is at risk? Mutual Purpose Do others believe you care about their goals? Mutual Respect Do others believe you respect them?
  • 37. 3.MakeitSafe Apologize and Contrast Apologize when you have made a mistake. Contrast to fix misunderstandings.  Start with what you  don't intend or mean.   Then explain what you  do intend or mean
  • 38. 3.MakeitSafe Try to Contrast I don’t want to…. I do want to…
  • 39. Harness Your Emotions If we take control of our emotions and stories, they won’t control us. 4.MasterYourStories
  • 41. State Your Path  SHARE your facts  TELL your story (facts + conclusion)  ASK for others’ paths (humility)  TALK tentatively   ENCOURAGE testing ‐ make it safe for  others to express differing views Talking tools for sensitive topics
  • 42. Learning to Listen Effective communication begins with effective listening, such that you build trust and work toward achieving insight through a step by step process.
  • 43. Listening Defined “Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble.” ~ Frank Tyger
  • 44. • For leisure and pleasure • To take part in a dialogue or discussion • To gather information • To receive instructions • To comprehend • To get the essence of what is being said Reasons we Listen
  • 45. Benefits of Effective Listening Skills for Personal Growth and Development Learning the skill of Effective Listening benefits personal development and relationships: • Effective Communication • Decreased Misconceptions • Stronger Connections • Personal Development
  • 46. Hearing Listening≠ Listening is an active process of communication that involves comprehending or understanding the meaning of what is being said before a response is made.
  • 47. The stages of the listening process occur in sequence: 1. Hearing 2. Attention 3. Understanding 4.Remembering 5.Evaluating 6.Responding
  • 48. Stages in the Listening Process Hearing Attention Understanding Remembering Evaluating Responding
  • 49. Asking the Right Questions Closed-ended questions allow for dichotomous answers: Yes/No - True/False - This/That It encourages short or single-word answers. Open-ended questions encourage full, meaningful answers. It draws out the speaker’s own knowledge and emotions.
  • 50. Active Listening 4 Listening Tools for helping others share their paths to action     –ASK them to tell their stories –MIRROR to confirm feelings –PARAPHRASE to acknowledge their story –PRIME when you’re getting nowhere
  • 51. Move to Action: Decision Making  Command: Decisions made by authority  Consult: Input gathered from the group.  Vote: An agreed-upon percentage swings the decision.  Consensus: Everyone comes to an agreement and supports the final decision.
  • 52. Finish Clearly  Determine who does what by when.   Make deliverables crystal clear.   Set a follow‐up time.   Record the commitments and then  follow up.   Finally, hold people accountable to  their promises.
  • 53. Feedback is all about INFORMATION Feedback can be positive, negative or simply neutral. Without feedback, the performer is like a blind worker. The failure to perform feedback is a feedback itself: NO FEEDBACK, and communicates the message that no one cares about performance or the performer. People want to excel. And to know how they are doing, they need feedback information.
  • 54. Asking the Right Questions Closed-ended questions allow for dichotomous answers: Yes/No - True/False - This/That It encourages short or single-word answers Open-ended questions encourage full, meaningful answers It draws out the speaker’s own knowledge and emotions
  • 55. Ten Common Mistakes in Giving Feedback 1.The feedback judges individuals, not actions. 2.The feedback is too vague. 3.The feedback speaks for others 4.Negative feedback gets sandwiched between positive messages. 5.The feedback is exaggerated with generalities.
  • 56. Ten Common Mistakes in Giving Feedback 6.The feedback psychoanalyzes the motives behind behaviour. 7.The feedback goes on too long. 8.The feedback contains an implied threat. 9.The feedback uses inappropriate humour. 10.The feedback is a question, not a statement.
  • 57. 4 - Step Feedback Model Step 1 Identify the behavior Step 2 Describe the effects of behavior Step 3 Describe change you would like to see Step 4 Gain commitment to change
  • 58. Characteristics of a Good Feedback System P – Performance standard oriented E – Easily understandable R – Routed to the right person F – Frequent O – On target R – Relevant M – Measurable E – Expressed positively R – Real and Honest S – Self-administered
  • 59. The Coaching Concept Evaluate to determine knowledge, skill and confidence levels. Define objectives that can be measured periodically. Clarify direction, goals and accountability. Encourage peer coaching.
  • 60. The Coaching Concept Coaching involves giving advice, skills building, creating challenges, removing barriers, building better processes, learning through discovery, etc. Deal with emotional obstacles by helping them through change. Give feedback. Lead by example.
  • 61. Clear Direction? • Where are you going? Clear Strategy? • How are you going to get there? Clear set of Expectations? • What does your team expect from you ? • What do you expect from the team? 61McKinley Solutions Inc. © The Challenge of Change
  • 62. 1. Why are we changing? 2. What is in it for me? 3. What can we/I to do differently? 4. What tools/support do we have? 5. How will we be measured? © 2011 McKinley Solutions Guiding Questions
  • 63. STOP-START-CONTINUE Individual & Group Challenge: Use a Start-Stop-Continue template to create specific action for yourself 63McKinley Solutions Inc. © Take Action Now
  • 65. Mark R. Thompson w: www.mckinleysolutions.com e: mark@mckinleysolutions.com t: 888-769-1577 www.twitter.com/mckinleysolns www.slideshare.net/mckinleysolutions www.delicious.com/mckinleysolutions www.flickr.com/photos/mckinleysolutions www.facebook.com/mckinleysolutions www.linkedin.com/company/mckinley-solutions