I have been reflecting on several conversations I've had over the past few weeks and the way they left me feeling. Of course, the ones that stick out the most in my mind are the ones that left me feeling irritated, frustrated and disappointed. When I think back to the conversations in question, two key factors were present that led to their less than perfect outcome. Both parties (me being one of them) were focused on achieving a particular outcome, and there was a perceived shortage of time.
An outcome, and a deadline. Like crunch times. Why can conversations count more during crunch times? During crunch time, there's more at stake. In every way. Due to time constraints and the subsequent pressure created, there's no room for 'fluff'. However, the context means the impact of getting them wrong - say, if we take the wrong 'conversation shortcuts' - can have long term (negative) consequences. We need to get them right. We accidentally take them for granted... I recently attended assembly at my daughter's school and a student received her pen license. I forgot about this huge milestone as a child - something that we take for granted now as adults. It got me thinking about how we often take our ability to use language for granted, and how, like writing with a pen, it's a skill that needs teaching and practice, before it is mastered. Business partnering is a privilege and like pen is to pencil, conversations leave a permanent mark.
When someone allows you to walk beside them and act as their partner or adviser, you can't take that lightly. Every conversation should be treated with the respect it deserves. How do you shape effective crunch time conversations? The effectiveness of our business partnering relationships are based on connection and commitment, but they also need to be embedded with consistency. Conversation is a key mechanism we use to demonstrate this. When we're consistent with how we approach our conversations, we form new habits and deepen our relationships.
Ask yourself the following questions (it will take you 2 minutes): What do I want the other party to feel after our conversation? How do I want to feel?
• Inspired (I want to do it)
• Confident & mobilised (I can do it/I know it can happen)
• Clear & Informed (I know where I stand/what needs to happen now)
• Prepared (I am ready to do it)
Ask these questions every time and shape the conversation effectively from the start. Love to hear the conversations you're having....