The Transformative Power of Confident Conversations
We are all human. Even the most senior, capable people can struggle with finding the most effective way to communicate in difficult situations. Lisa came to us recently as she felt she needed some communication skills to help her deal with high conflict situations at work. Instinctively she preferred to walk away and avoid dealing with the discomfort, but she knew it was important that she become more empowered in highly emotional settings.
It was evident that the goal of the workshop we put together for Lisa and her colleagues was to provide them with the skills to have confident conversations. Their lived experience provided us with the platform to have a practical session that revolved around real events that were happening in Lisa’s workplace.
When conflict arises, we tend to respond in either fight or flight mode. Aggression or poor behaviour is often returned with retaliation which leads to escalation. Alternatively, a more conflict averse recipient may shrink away which isn’t an effective way of achieving resolution. We encourage people to flip their thinking and get curious, not furious. In practice this means asking more questions. ‘Why do we see this differently?’ ‘Tell me more about how you are seeing this situation.’
These simple but powerful strategies work for everyone, allowing the other person to feel as if they have some control back and providing the person being attacked with some space to take a breath and think with greater clarity and calm. These situations can be very confronting and emotional, especially if the conversation is with a long time, trusted colleague. Having a few tools up your sleeve can prevent the dialogue from becoming defensive.
At Learnfully we want to give people tools but also insights by using experiences that relate to real life in our workshops. We are not all theory, and we continue to follow up after a workshop with practical resources and reminders about how to implement learnings.
When a situation exploded in front of Lisa a few weeks after attending our workshop she knew how to diffuse the volatility and we were delighted to receive her feedback.
‘I used all my confident conversations power to defuse a situation on Christmas Day (classic time for conflict I know) and it worked a treat! An honest clear opening, time to listen and acknowledge perspectives saw the situation calm. The key sentence “can I make a suggestion?” was transformative – it meant the recipient who usually rejects any advice was receptive to it. An acknowledgement of all viewpoints and an unreserved apology occurred! Mind blowing!’
Over time, embedding effective communication skills in your organisation can lead to positive cultural change. Each workshop is tailored to your needs and there is no cookie cutting. By identifying the unique issues in your organisation, we can design and evaluate programs that bring about the transformation you are looking for. We spend a lot of time at work. It may as well be enjoyable.