Delta Possibilities header image 2

A Sixth Conversation Strategy to Add to Your Talking Toolbox

November 1st, 2009 · No Comments

Last week, I mentioned five powerful conversation strategies that you could use to improve the quality of communication in your work and life. However, I neglected to mention a very important one – the conversation strategy that you need when the stakes are high, when emotions may run high, when you may not know quite what to say, but you know you need to say something to have a positive influence on the situation.

Whether you call these critical conversations, crucial conversations, fierce conversations, difficult conversations or just “the talk”, these conversations are ones that we don’t necessarily want to have, but need to have. There’s something very important that we need to address.

However, before we decide to have “the talk” with someone else, it makes sense to dig a bit deeper into the situation on our own, gaining some clarity and understanding and assessing the level of urgency in initiating a significant conversation that asks for or starts the process of significant change. In her book, Fierce Conversations,  Achieving Success at Work and in Life, One Conversation at a Time, author Susan Scott introduces a 7-step process called Mineral Rights that we can use to hold a fierce conversation with ourselves to help us explore current issues as we determine the best approach to initiating these conversations with others.

Step 1: Identify your most pressing issue.

  • The issue that I most need to resolve is:

Step 2: Clarify the issue.

  • What is going on?
  • How long has this been going on?
  • How bad are things?

Step 3: Determine the current impact.

  • How is this situation currently impacting me?
  • What results are currently being produced for me in this situation?
  • How is this issue currently impacting others?
  • What results are currently being produced for them by this situation?
  • When I consider the impact on both myself and others, what are my emotions?

Step 4: Determine the future implications.

  • If nothing changes, what’s likely to happen?
  • What’s at stake for me relative to this issue?
  • What’s at stake for others?
  • When I consider these possible outcomes, what are my emotions?

Step 5: Examine your personal contribution to this issue.

  • What is my contribution to this issue? (How have I contributed to the problem?)

Step 6: Describe the ideal outcome.

  • When this issue is resolved, what difference will that make?
  • What results will I enjoy?
  • When this issue is resolved, what results will others enjoy?
  • When I imagine this resolution, what are my emotions?

Step 7: Commit to action.

  • What is the most potent step I could take to move this issue toward resolution?
  • What’s going to attempt to get in my way and how will I get past it?
  • When will I take this step?

Often, the most important critical conversations are those we need to have with ourselves. Only when we’re clear on where we stand on an issue – and what’s at stake – can we effectively communicate with those around us.

[tags] communication, Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott, Mineral Rights, Crucial Conversations, Difficult Conversations, change [/tags]

Tags: Change · Communication · Engagement · Strategies