How Are You Running Your Conversations?

How Are You Running Your Conversations?

Stop to think about how much of your work would ever be accomplished without communication or conversations. The answer is quite obvious: very little! With so much of our work depending on our conversations, a valuable question to ask is: How am I running my conversations? If you were to look back on a given workday or work week, and recall all the conversations you had initiated or been a part of, might it feel and sound like you have been running a “talking triathlon” that was exhausting for you and your team. If you’re like most leaders there is likely room to improve and to run your conversations more efficiently, more effectively and with more focus. A positive, effective, and impactful manager considers themselves (or at least desires to be) a coach to their team – someone who runs conversations that instill confidence, increase engagement, and motivate those they work with. The research is compelling: running higher-quality coaching conversations is one of the most impactful activities a manager can engage in to improve the performance and success of their team. Whether you consider yourself a coach or not, here are just a few things you can do to immediately run your many conversations as more effective coaching conversations which, you will discover, opens up communication and allows strong, healthy, and trusting relationships to flourish. 1. Run conversations on purpose with a purpose. Begin with the end in mind and have a clear goal. 2. Run your conversations with open ended questions that allow and encourage the other person to explore their personal knowledge base and experience and generate...
This is the Key Ingredient to Communicating with Anyone

This is the Key Ingredient to Communicating with Anyone

There are dozens of philosophies regarding how to communicate with people. Everyone has a great new idea on the best way to communicate across cultures, across genders, and across societal barriers. But they all boil down to one simple thing – one key ingredient to make conversations more effective, bridge gaps, create unity, and nurture healthy, trusting relationships. That key ingredient is being genuinely respectful. One of the most positive and constructive messages we can communicate to our coworkers, regardless of cultural or gender gaps, is that we trust them. We recognize their awareness and value their perspective, insight and competence. How and when a person uses this key ingredient is particularly critical. Many of our normal day to day conversations aren’t long and involved meetings, but brief check-in or feedback conversations. It’s important to communicate these many positive traits in each of these simple conversations. It may seem herculean, but the trick is simple: have the dialogue with genuine respect. More specifically, you ask three simple questions BEFORE you share your thoughts: What’s working? Where are you getting stuck? What might you do differently? Any time you allow another person to self-assess first, you send that most positive message of confidence and respect. You say: “I trust you and your awareness. I value your perspective and your competence, and I welcome your insights.” After they have shared (and you demonstrate that you have, indeed, heard them) then you can answer those same questions for yourself, adding anything that’s still relevant. As familiar and simple as these questions are, when used in this way and with a mindset of...
Holding Meetings That Connect with Remote Workers

Holding Meetings That Connect with Remote Workers

If you’ve ever held or attended a virtual meeting, then the latest Tripp and Tyler satire, a Zoom ad entitled Video Conference Call in Real Life, probably made you laugh out loud. As the former COO of a company in which all of our folks worked from home offices, I surely did! I can’t help with bandwidth challenges, but based on my experiences, I can wholeheartedly recommend three best practices for conducting meetings that will at least figuratively connect your highly distributed team. 1. Maintain a professional set-up. Using a video over voice-only platform goes without saying. People should be able to make eye contact with each other and read non-verbal cues just as if they were sitting in the same room. Not only will that minimize the inevitable multi-tasking that occurs when people “hide” behind a computer screen, but also fosters an environment of connection and mutual respect. This means all participants should take care to ensure that: • Video cameras are at or close to eye level and framing them nicely • Lighting is conducive to being seen clearly • Distractions (i.e. kids, pets, devices, background noise) are minimized in advance • All the materials they need to participate are handy 2. Maximize technology tools. Utilize the features available on your video conferencing platform to focus people’s attention, create visual interest, and boost collaboration. Take full advantage of highlighters, drawing tools, white boards, chat rooms, screen sharing, and other interactive features. For example, when conducting webinars for global clients, we often put up an interactive map of the world and have participants use the drawing tools to designate where they are streaming from. This...