Difficult Conversations Examples of Difficult Conversations… Asking for a raise Ending a relationship Saying no to someone in need Giving a critical performance review Apologizing Confronting harmful behavior A difficult conversation is anything you find hard to talk about… Sexuality, Race, Gender, Politics, Religion, Finances, Family Issues Of course there is everyday stuff as well… Returning merchandise without a receipt Asking your secretary to do some photo copying Telling the painters not to smoke in the house Getting pulled over an speaking with the officer Scheduling issues with your babysitter Asking the neighbors to keep the noise down Asking a co worker to stop chewing their gum so loudly Delivering a difficult message is like throwing a hand grenade… There is no such thing as a diplomatic hand grenade… Three Kinds of Conversations… 1. The “What Happened?” Conversation Assumptions: Truth: The truth assumption Intentions: The intention invention Blame: The blame game Three Kinds of Conversations… 2. The “Feelings” Conversation Difficult conversations do not just involve feelings, they are at their core about feelings Be Human Are my feelings really needed in this conversation? Three Kinds of Conversations… 3. The “Identity” Conversation What does this say about me? If a conversation feels difficult, it is in part because it is about you! Conflicts with your self image, self esteem, insecurities Keeping balance and moving towards a learning conversation… Losing balance means losing our confidence Awareness of these types of conversations helps Changing your stance, invite the other person into the conversation with you.. Stop Arguing About Who’s Right The main thing about conversations is that, simply, people disagree Disagreements are not a bad thing, nor does it necessarily lead to a difficult conversation. So Why Do We Argue? We simply believe that: 1. They’re selfish 2. They’re naïve 3. They’re controlling 4. They’re irrational Arguing Blocks Us from Exploring Each Other’s Stories We Each Make Sense in Our Story of What Rather than helping us Happened understand our different views, Normally, we don’t notice the ways in arguing results in a battle of which our story of the world is messages. perceived from different people. Different Stories Our personal stories are built in often unconscious but systematic ways: Move from Certainty to Curiosity 1. We take in information. We There’s only one way to come to experience the world. understand the other person’s story and that is by BEING 2. We interpret what we see CURIOUS. 3. Then we draw conclusions about what’s happening. 4. Finally, we realize there is an opportunity for different people’s stories to diverge. Embrace Both Stories: Adopt the “And Stance” We usually assume that we must accept or reject the other person’s story Don’t choose between the stories; embrace both. That’s the “And Stance” Exceptions 1. What about times when I know I’m right? 2. Does the suggestion to “understand the other person’s story” always apply? Don’t Assume They Meant It Intensions strongly influence our judgment of others: if someone intended The First Mistake: is while we deeply care to hurt us we judge them more harshly, about people’s intension towards us, we then if they hurt us by mistake. don’t actually know what they’re intensions are. Other peoples intensions are in their However real and right assumptions about hearts and minds other people’s intensions may seem to us, they are often incomplete. The Second Mistake: is good intensions don’t sanitize bad impact. We make an attribution about another person intensions based on the impact of their actions on us. What’s ironic about our tendency to attribute bad intensions to others is how You can ask 3 questions to clarify if someone differently we treat ourselves. intended on hurting you: A literal focus on intentions ends up 1. Actions: “What did the other person really clouding the conversation. say or do” 2. Impact: “what was the impact on me?” 3. Assumption: “Based on this impact, what assumption am I making about what the other person intended.” Have Your Feelings or They Will Have You Feelings Matter: they are often at the heart of the difficult conversations We try to frame feelings out of problems A way out of the “Feelings Bind” Don't vent: describe feelings carefully The importance of acknowledgment Ground your identity: Ask Yourself What's at Stake? Difficult conversations threaten our identity Ground your identity During the conversation learn to regain your balance Their identity is also implicated Create a Learning Conversation What’s your Purpose? How to Decide? (When to Raise It and When to Let Go How do I know I’ve made the right choice? Work through the Three Conversations Do you have purposes that make Is the Real Conflict Inside You? sense? Is there a better way to address the issue than talking about it? Letting Go Adopt some liberating assumptions Create a Learning Conversation Why our typical openings don’t help We begin inside our own story We trigger their identity conversation from the start Step 1: Begin from the Third Story Step 2: Extend an Invitation Specific Kinds of Conversations Moving Forward: Third Story, Their Story, Your Story Create a Learning Conversation Listening transforms the Conversation The Stance of Curiosity: Listen from the inside out Three Skills Inquiry Paraphrasing Acknowledgment Difficult Conversation Checklist 1. The What Happened? Conversation 2. The Feelings Conversation 3. The Identity Conversation 4. Decide whether to raise the issue? 5. Remember Letting Go. 6. The Third Story and Problem Solving The Expense Report example: John, please turn your expense report on time! Correct Response: From Third Story: I know John expense reports takes a long time to do, and we are overloaded with work. Accounting Department would like us to turn in expenses in the same month accrued. Your traveling expenses will be paid faster from accounting when turned in at end of month. So to create a win-win situation between Accounting and Sales turning your expense report at the end on the month would be appreciated.