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How to Talk to Anyone About Anything presented by: Jacqui Lanagan, Director of Nonprofit & Community Services

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Presentation on theme: "How to Talk to Anyone About Anything presented by: Jacqui Lanagan, Director of Nonprofit & Community Services"— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Talk to Anyone About Anything presented by: Jacqui Lanagan, Director of Nonprofit & Community Services

2 Elements of a Conversation 1.Something happens (you observe or hear something) 2.You create assumptions 3.A feeling (good or bad) is created 4.You react Guess what? So does the other person! There are 2 sides to every conversation

3 What makes some conversation so difficult? The following elements all need to be present for a conversation to be Crucial: Differences of opinion Something to lose/something to gain Emotionally charged

4 Let’s Talk What strategies did you use to communicate as a child? What do you do now as an adult?

5 Or not….

6 Silence or Violence Even if we are not physically violent we may attack others ideas and feelings. Silence – withdrawing, avoiding, masking Violence – controlling, labeling, attacking

7 Common examples of when you may be faced with a difficult conversation People’s best ideas aren’t being heard and implemented Your aren’t given the resources you need to complete your job Your in-laws drop in without notice and try to take over your life Your spouse is spending far too much time at work, but every time you bring up the issue you end up in a heated argument

8 Identify where you are stuck What bad results do you want to fix? What good results are you currently unable to achieve? What problems are you always trying to fix? What do people gripe about? What do people complain about at home and work?

9 What’s keeping you stuck What is keeping the conversation from being successful or from happening at all?  Step outside the content of the conversation and observe the process  Content – what you’re talking about  Process – how you’re treating each other in the moment

10 Common process problems Not staying focused – move from sharing ideas to trying to win Fail to notice when people withdraw or attack Don’t know how to make it safe to talk about touchy subjects – so they avoid them or become emotional Don’t clarify what next steps are and who is going to do what

11 Staying focused on what you really want When conversations get “real” we can: Become blind to our own role in the problem Lose sight of what really matters We see only one solution (I question your decision and assume I will be punished)

12 We judge others by their behavior, but we judge ourselves by our intentions

13 Work on YOU first Admit your role in the problem Jump start your thinking Focus on what you really want Open your mind up to other options (How do I question your decision without being punished?)

14 When communication starts to fail Think about: How you are currently behaving What you really want Personally For the other person For your relationship How you should behave Then do it

15 To get to “and” thinking 1.Clarify what you want to achieve. 2.Clarify what you want to avoid. 3.Combine the two into an “and” question by asking, “I wonder how I can achieve _____ and avoid _____?”

16 How to notice when safety is at risk Look for: When a conversation becomes “real” Signs of silence or violence Your own style under stress What emotions do you feel? What physical responses do you notice? How do you behave?

17 Signs of Silence Any action taken to withhold information. It ranges from playing verbal games to avoiding a person entirely. Masking – sarcasm, sugar coating Avoiding – staying away for the topic/issue that is uncomfortable Withdrawing – pulling out of communication altogether

18 Signs of Violence Any action taken to compel others toward your point of view. Controlling – coercing others through how we share our views or drive the conversations (cutting others off, speaking in absolutes, etc…) Labeling – putting a label on people or ideas so we can dismiss them under a general stereotype or category Attacking – punishing others personally (name-calling, belittling, etc…)

19 Your style under stress Identify which communication style you revert to when conversations get “real” Think of a person or topic where you are having trouble communicating (work or at home) Candidly answer the questions on your worksheet

20 Make it safe STOP talking Make them feel safe You care about their best interests and goals You care about them Start talking again

21 Yeah but – what if you don’t respect the other person? Respect calls for the ability to see the humanity in others; that is, respecting others because they’re human beings and as such deserve to be treated with dignity. Often times what we see as their faults are not much different from our own.

22 I don’t care about what you care about… Debate or surrender Hidden agendas Circling back

23 I have offended you… Accusations Yelling Name-calling Pouting

24 Making it OK (again) Apologize Create mutual goals or shared interests – try to combine both (this is not a compromise) Clarify - “I don’t mean ____, I do mean ____”

25 Get your emotions in check Our stories create our emotions; we create our stories First, you see, hear, or otherwise experience something Second, you tell a story about the facts Third, you generate a feeling Fourth, you act If you want to change your reaction you need to change your story

26 Fact vs. Fiction Facts Visible and audible Scientifically verifiable When brought up people on all sides of an issue readily agree Fiction Judgments (determine if facts are good or bad) Conclusions (help us fit elements together) Attributions (tell us why people do what they do)

27 Types of stories Victim – “It’s not my fault. I’m an innocent bystander. I played no role in the problem.” Villain – “It’s all your fault” – other people are bad or wrong. They enjoy making me suffer. Helpless – “There’s nothing else I can do” – convince us we have no options for taking healthy action so I have to use silence or violence

28 “OOPS, my bad"

29 Own your hypocrisy Tell a new story that acknowledges your role in creating or prolonging the problem. You know you’re part of the problem when: You’re stuck in anger, self-justification, and blame You keep telling yourself the same story You keep telling others the same story You resist other’s attempts to question your story

30 Change the story You need to rethink the conclusions you drew and the judgments you made Your new story should: Assess your role in the problem Humanize the other person Turn you from helpless into able

31 Turn yourself from Victim into an Actor Ask yourself: What am I pretending not to notice about my role in the problem? What should I have done? What should I have not done?

32 Turn others from Villains into Humans Ask the “humanizing question”: Why would a reasonable, rational, and decent person do this? Look for other possible motives and actively seek to see the good qualities in the other person

33 Turn yourself from Helpless into Able Acknowledge that we are capable of doing something about our situation Commit to corrective action and ask ourselves: What should I do right now to move toward what I really want? Decide what results we truly want to achieve in the situation and then behave in a way to yield those results

34 Let me tell you… Share your facts Tell your story (explain the conclusions and judgments drawn from facts) Let others share new ideas or challenge your facts

35 In return I will… Be willing to listen Not look to disprove or find fault in their logic Find the truth in what you are saying Be patient

36 More than listening Ask (ask others for their views/to share their path) Mirror (is their tone of voice or body posture sending a different message than the verbal one) Paraphrase (restate what you think you heard the other person say) Prime (guess at what you think is holding them back and add words to the conversation)

37 Why didn’t it work? We didn’t decide well We made vague and/or weak commitments We didn’t keep our commitments or had competing commitments

38 Making it work Decide how to decide Document who does what by when and follow up Hold one another accountable

39 Four Types of Decision Making Command – one person decides with no involvement from others Consult – everyone gets input, then a subset of one or more makes the decision Vote – all have a voice, but the majority rules Consensus – everyone must agree to support the decision

40 Plan for action Each assignment should be given to a specific person Spell out specific deliverables Assign deadlines Follow up Document


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