Difficult Conversations _Fall 2010_ by xiangpeng


									Difficult Conversations
    Examples of Difficult Conversations…

   Asking for a raise
   Ending a relationship
   Saying no to someone in need
   Giving a critical performance
   Apologizing
   Confronting harmful behavior
    A difficult conversation is anything you
            find hard to talk about…
       Sexuality, Race, Gender, Politics, Religion, Finances, Family

     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
   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
             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
               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
                                   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?
   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.

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