At one time or another, as a leader, parent, family member or friend, we are all faced with conversations that are uncomfortable or awkward. One of the secrets of great leadership is being able to initiate these conversations. Uncomfortable conversations take both courage and planning!
The first 15 seconds of your opening frame counts! If the first few seconds is angry or abrasive in any way, you’ll spend the next 20 minutes trying to rebalance so that you can get your message across.
When planning your frame, choose the specific parts of a subject you will focus on and what elements you will exclude. Frames influence both by what they highlight or emphasize as well as what they understate, overlook or completely leave out.
In the last blog post I gave examples of how to use the other person’s values in your opening. Again, examples of values might be: being a team player, being accountable, or being supportive. This value-added link opens the receptivity of the receiver.
Next, ask for their input and listen deeply to their perspective. As you move forward in the conversation, here are a few other things you might want to remember. These items will keep the conversation positive, upbeat and future focused.
- Highlight the positive outcome you want for the relationship and situation.
- Describe the gap between where you are and where you would like to be.
- Keep your language non-confrontational and inclusive. Use ‘we’ whenever possible.
- Use positive open gestures and body language.
- Stay focused on the goal!
I will be delivering a one day program on this very subject at The Center for Strategic Education in Melbourne on August 12th. Please join me!