Honest and open dialogue is such an important element of creating team synergy. It can help defuse tension, get everyone on the same page, and help the teams that embrace it become happier and more productive.
It’s also valuable in our interpersonal lives, whether that’s with your spouse, friends, parents, or children.
As part of Sidi.io’sBook of the Month club, we read “Crucial Conversations” by Joseph Grenny, a book that unveils the psychology behind having those overwhelming, anxiety-inducing, tough conversations.
The book breaks down how to recognize when a conversation becomes “crucial” and provides some actionable steps to help all parties come out of it feeling aligned.
Here are 3 of the team’s most powerful takeaways that can be implemented right away to help you navigate a crucial conversation.
1. Manage Your Emotions
We’ve all been there before. We’ve all been faced with less-than-ideal life circumstances only to react emotionally. You might have snapped at your child for playing too many video games instead of doing his homework, at a coworker for a deadline that is way past due, or maybe become passive-aggressive with your spouse when they forgot to take out the garbage.
But long-term, did your momentary lapse of self-control serve you? The answer is likely no.
The first step of a crucial conversation is to reel in those emotions the moment you feel them building up and to ask yourself what you want the outcome of the conversation to be.
When emotions are reeled in and you are level-headed, more honest and open communication can begin and your goals can be presented in a way that doesn’t force the other party to shy away, retreat, and protect their ego.
In this stage it is also important to create a shared pool of meaning, where ideas and thoughts can be added to this pool, helping each party know where the other stands.
2. The STATE Method
Understanding your emotions will allow you to flow into the STATE method a lot easier. This stands for:
S – Share your facts
T – Tell your story
A – Ask for other’s paths
T – Talk tentatively
E- Encourage testing
Using these steps in order will help you communicate in a non-abrasive manner and sets the foundation for a more positive outcome.
This is also good to remember because having a conversation is not an exact science and having some sort of guideline to go off of can help the conversation from veering off the path.
3. Listen & Show Empathy
A big portion of this book is about re-evaluating the energy, intention, and heart that you approach your conversations with.
That is, entering a crucial conversation with empathy, an open mind, and the ability to really listen.
After all, a conversation doesn’t just happen between one person, and focusing too much on what to say next is a common mistake people make. In these moments, we are not listening – we are reacting.
This is not to say that you need to dilute your message for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Tough topics need to be addressed, but respect for the other person or party shouldn’t change.
Coming into a conversation relaxed begins with showing empathy and acknowledgement and produces more favorable outcomes.
What Did You Think?
The Sidi.io team found this book invaluable in helping to develop skills to have healthy constructive conversations. The one caveat that the team had was that though the book had great ti[ps, one would need to work at building these conversational skills
Have you read the book? What were your most important takeaways?
Watch our team discussion here: