Difficult Conversations Checklist

Mar 8 08:56 2010 Joshua Uebergang Print This Article

Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, and Roger Fisher, authored a nice book called "Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss what Matters Most". In it are important principles and checklists of difficult conversations to help you solve tough moments in the workplace with employees and other everyday situations.

The Dark Secret of What's Really Going On

You probably struggle to go over to your neighbors and tell them to quieten their barking dog,Guest Posting not because of the effort, but because you lack the assertive communication skills. Situations like these play out in your life everyday, which this article will help you solve to create better, open relationships.

In each conversation there are three conversations that remain hidden to most people. We tend to argue about facts, ignoring two other conversations.

If you were to address an employee about poor performance in the workplace, there's other issues that surface like the employee questioning, "Am I good enough for the job?" The employee is also likely to have emotions, such as anger and shame, come up that if ignored, destroy any attempt to effectively communicate.

Difficult Conversations Checklist: The Three Conversations

Below is a "cliff-notes-like" checklist that summarizes the book's model to help you deal with difficult people to manage conflict, listen, assert yourself, and improve your relationship communication.

Each conversation has three conversations:

1) What happened. This is the factual aspect of a conversation. What events occurred? Who was involved? What problems resulted? Discover the plot of the story, which drives the conflict.

2) Feelings. Investigate the emotional footprints. Communication leaves behind tracks that indicate a person's identity. In conflict, it's easy to overlook emotions, but pay attention to them because the "what happened" conversation cannot occur until the feeling one does.

3) Identity. Difficult conversations are difficult because they question one's identity. Is he good enough? Can I be loved? What internal conversations are taking place? Do not control another's reaction. Also, adopt an "And Stance". Reject nothing and accept everything.

"Managing all three simultaneously may seem hard," writes Stone, Patton, Heen, and Fisher, "but it's easier than facing the consequences of engaging in difficult conversations blindly."

Learning Conversations

Underlying each conversation is the idea of a learning conversation. You must move from knowing everything, focusing on self-expression, and being right to exploring the other person's point of view, listening to others, and acknowledging you can be wrong.

Learning, expression, and problem-solving is another part of the Difficult Conversations book. It takes two people to disagree so you cannot have destructive conflict when you follow these lessons.

With this brief checklist, it doesn't matter if someone is unaware of these principles because your openness to clarify and raise an issue leads to effective problem-solving.

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Joshua Uebergang
Joshua Uebergang


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