When you start a difficult conversation, it’s normal to feel uncomfortable — and that’s okay. All Content © 2020 Dallas Theological Seminary. Be curious and ask questions not to defeat the other person, but to move toward mutual understanding about where the differences and tension points are or why there is a disagreement. Joel Garfinkle is an executive leadership coach and author of Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level and Difficult Conversations: Practical Tactics for Crucial Communication. Unfortunately, what we do is seek to mind-read the other person at these levels and even speak to their presence (“You are angry with me so much of the time”), while ignoring what is going on with us at the same level. 1. Handling difficult conversations well can put a stop to poor team performance, financial misunderstandings, and plain old unrealistic client expectations before they become issues that put your project at serious risk. Good communication is important both in formal negotiations Take your leadership skills to the next level by getting comfortable with confrontation. The second level is a combination of emotions, perceptions, and judgments at work as we speak within our discussions. That’s what most conversations are—discussions operating on three channels at the same time. They say most people start by describing the issue from their own perspective, which automatically raises the defensive barrier from the other party. When we put up phasor shields in reaction to comments, we often short circuit a conversation that has some potential for learning. I feel like I’m trying to look at the issue from both perspectives. We tend indeed to avoid being too open about how we feel. All leaders have difficult conversations at some point in time, whether it’s telling an employee they aren’t getting a raise or a promotion, disciplining poor performance, or … Tag:difficult conversations how to discuss what matters most. For a good resolution, the parties involved should move from their own views of the fact to a curiosity about the other person’s view of the events. Note how sometimes our reactions may be about something else that was unresolved. When talking with someone, it is helpful to know what type of conversation you are in. The authors say that underlying difficult conversations are three deeper conversation, which are: The authors say that the common mistake is to stop at what has happened at a superficial level. How is this playing out? the project missed the deadline). The most difficult conversations threaten our ego and sense of identity by calling into question our competency or even whether we are worthy of being loved and appreciated (for more details on the importance of feeling worthy of love read Brene Brown – Daring Greatly). Ask questions and invite them to ask about something that was said. Some conversations are difficult because they make one uncomfortable with their identity. Try these nine crucial rules. Our questions aren’t often shared and yet can be what is directing how we respond and why. Married for over 40 years to Sally, he is a proud father of two daughters and a son and is also a grandfather. Oftentimes we confuse these two distinct categories and jump to assessing before understanding. Here are 12 ways to diffuse difficult people. A difficult conversation typically suggests that one party has to deliver news that is potentially unwelcome to the other. In difficult discussions seek to be more curious as to why the person thinks differently without trying to be a prophet about the other person’s head. In order to manage a difficult conversation you need to think carefully about: the way you communicate; your ability to take control of a meeting and; your levels of self-belief. A Difficult Conversation Is Anything You Find It Hard to Talk About Sexuality, race, gender, politics, and religion come quickly to mind as difficult topics to discuss, and for many of us they are. #4. Listening is one of the most important bit of difficult conversations. We tend to focus on what we are “broadcasting” to others, and in doing so, we miss much of what often is going on. Dr. Bock has earned recognition as a Humboldt Scholar (Tübingen University in Germany), is the author of over 40 books, including well-regarded commentaries on Luke and Acts and studies of the historical Jesus, and work in cultural engagement as host of the seminary’s Table Podcasts. The “what happened” conversation gets to the facts without placing blame or guessing the others’ intentions. First, there is the what happened level which is mostly about facts (e.g. When the parties cannot find a solution working for both, they must decide on whether to accept a smaller solution, deal with the consequences or walk away. When people perceive that we care about and understand them, they open up more and are in a better position to listen to what we have to say. Frame a difficult topic in a way that encourages open discussion. It may also open us up to learn and grow by listening to the things we need to hear as well. Assumption 1: Each of us is bringing different information and perceptions to the situation. It is discomforting, can erode the listener’s sense of worth and in the Asian context result in loss of face. My response ought to probe why she feels this way and what I can do better to help her. Dr. Bock has been a New York Times best-selling author in nonfiction and is elder emeritus at Trinity Fellowship Church in Dallas. Read here. Here are four common contributions in difficult conversations: To expand your views on the contribution try to look at yourself from the other party’s shoes and then look at the whole situation from a third party perspective. Encourage them to paraphrase or offer to paraphrase what they have said. Progress can grind to a halt when everyone takes for granted that their own view is correct, and that any opposition stems from self-interest. I call them the Three As: the Avoider, the Aggressor and the Accomplished. Difficult conversations are difficult for a reason. Also, there’s a certain tendency of going with the worst possible option, which certainly doesn’t help in conflict resolution. Difficult conversations and how to handle them. Taking the right approach will help defuse some of the tension, and allow you to create an open forum for conversation. The one element that is often missing in this mode of conversation is curiosity and actual engagement with the other person about what is driving them to express themselves. Letting Go: Do You Really Need The Conversation? Every difficult conversation operates at three levels. Those sensitive exchanges can hurt us or haunt us in ways no other kind of communication does. It is best to pursue it once everyone can agree on the issues. What do I do then?” The approach in this situation is to try and reframe the conversation in a direction that pushes toward the curiosity door. Seek to understand before assessing. Most everyone dreads the difficult, challenging conversation. However, so are the relational elements of what is going on along with what stands underneath the positions we take. A core goal in good conversation is understanding these differences and why they are there. A job review for example, or talking about how to fix a big mistake. three conversations. Learn to paraphrase in the difficult moments in a way that makes the conversation partner say, “Yep, you understand me.” Paraphrasing means interpreting and translating. Our challenge: the situation is more complex than either person alone can see. Staying aware of the triphonics of conversations may just be the anvil we need to turn difficult dialogue into revealing learning. We tend to focus on what we are “broadcasting” to others, and in doing so, we miss much of what often is going on. One of the core elements of conversation involves the three levels to work simultaneously. My Note: The identity side will always hit harder those people who have a fixed mindset. They suggest that working out on your own the three level of the conversation and drafting a “contribution map” without having the difficult conversation. Read here how to develop a growth mindset and how to develop an antifragile identity. Once that decision is made, start from the third story. Speak for yourself and you can speak with power, You can’t move the conversation on a positive direction until the other feels heard and understood. As a basic introduction to our method of managing difficult conversations, this worksheet will ask you to reflect on questions about each conversation. Learn english listening practice level 3. The answer is short. For example, in my case my neighbor always opens the window of the common building entrance area. Now in engagement, there often is a case to be made, and the rationale for the position taken is crucial. When difficult conversations turn toxic, it’s often because we’ve made a key mistake: we’ve fallen into a combat mentality. Difficult conversations with employees are unavoidable, whether it’s a performance issue or failed project. The following items are tagged three conversations: Negotiating Difficult Conversations: Dealing with Tough Topics Productively. Unfortunately, these type of exchanges are unavoidable in life. Douglas and Heen provide a lot of practical advice and real-life examples. Difficult Conversations: Summary in PDF (W/ Examples), The identity side will always hit harder those people who have a fixed mindset. Seeking mutual understanding about the conversation first and then moving to assessment may provide a way that arrives to a better destination. The authors say it’s a human tendency of thinking in terms of all or nothing that can make the identity level of the conversation so touchy. We are taught to debate and win our arguments, but we may need to recalibrate our goals in difficult conversations. With the right preparation, you can turn these emotionally-charged discussions into effective lines of communication that lead to quick resolutions. Unplanned difficult conversations take place on the spur of the moment; these are often fuelled by anger which can, in extreme cases, ... Managers in organisations may need to communicate difficult information on several levels, to staff who are under-performing or if redundancies are necessary. This usually results in internal identity conversation about ones competency, goodness, or whether they are worthy of being loved. Conversations are a primary way we relate to others. When I discuss this recalibration, there’s one key question I always get. If there is push for debate, to assess, and make judgments, ask them to defer those questions until there’s a mutual agreement of understanding for each other’s position. Just like Jack Webb on the old TV show, Dragnet, this is about the content of our conversations, “Just the facts, Ma’am.” Here is where we concentrate our attention—communicating what we see and why—often with a goal of persuading. We write every word which is from a higher level in bold type. A core goal in good conversation is understanding these differences and why they are there. The second step is deciding whether or not you want to raise the issue. Learning english listening with subtitle. When we put up phasor shields in reaction to comments, we often short circuit a conversation that has some potential for learning. We need to assess them on their own merits. The “What Happened?” Conversation. The authors rightly point out that the other party has likely not read Difficult Conversations, so they might remain focused on blaming and arguing on right and wrong. Summary of Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most By Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen Summary written by Conflict Research Consortium Staff Citation: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen, (New York: Viking Penguin, 1999). That is different than the assessment of who is right or wrong or what mix of right or wrong is going on. I have found their work to be of very high quality, including their latest “Thanks For The Feedback“. When people perceive that we care about and understand them, they open up more and are in a better position to listen to what we have to say. Three proven techniques for managing difficult conversations. They include complaining to a neighbor about their barking dog or asking for a salary increase at work. From then on you can then explain you don’t mean to “hurt” them or inconvenience them, so that the conversation can move to two human beings understanding each other. Level 3 is for advanced ESL (English as a second language) students. I hate it during the cold reason as it’s expensive for the heating and unethical. A difficult conversation is any situation where the needs/wants, opinions or perceptions of the involved parties are diverse, with their feelings and emotions running strong. Whether it be in marriage, business, politics, theology, over skype, social media or the phone, human conversations are precious commodities. Often it is in defense of our position. That’s the feeling I get any time I feel like I have struck gold: I get excited at how much I am going to learn.And by the end of it, I certainly was a better communicator and a better man. Every difficult conversation is really comprised of 3 conversations in one: the What Happened conversation, the Feelings conversation, and; the Identity conversation. Patience is running low and stress levels are unusually high so as you enter the holidays, be mindful of how tired and tender we all are as we strain to see any light at the end of this long and arduous tunnel known as 2020 that we are in together. It asks, “In this conversation, what is at stake for me and how am I seen as a result? The key to being a good listener is very simple: be genuinely curious and genuinely concerned about the other party. Don’t mistake them for facts, this is important, but don’t pretend that feelings are not there. Be aware of the three levels of conversation. Training can help to give you the confidence you need. Each party must understand that their own views and feelings are just their own and there’s no wrong or right. The first level is the topic at hand. There will be time for assessment down the road. You: OK, and how od you feel when I leave the window open. Let him or her speak and take the responses as sincere. Is there anything I’m doing to make it hard for you to look at your own contributions in the situation?”. This premature leap often creates a misunderstanding in what is happening, so that progress in the conversation ceases. Rarely do understanding the facts alone resolve the situation. He was president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) for 2000–2001, writes for the Christianity Today’s Places and Space series, and serves on the boards of Wheaton College, Chosen People Ministries, and the Institute for Global Engagement.. His articles appear in leading publications. The Four Types of Conversations. A Battle of Message A Learning Conversation Assumption 1: I know all that I need to know to understand fully what happened. That will give you more insights and will also give you a better idea on whether it makes sense to have a conversation or if it’s mostly an issue that you have within yourself only -an identity crisis for example-. Accusations are masked feelings: express the feelings directly instead, Starting a performance review by asking people how they’re feeling or how they think they’ve done is awkward, If you think it or feel it, you are entitled to say it. Third Party Style: you prefer having the window open why I prefer having it closed during the cold season. Difficult Conversations is possibly the best book I have read on effective communication (and indeed it ranks first in my “best communication skills books“). Remember that you both need to agree on the solution, and that they have to persuade you as much as you need to persuade them. #3. “What if I try this but the other person is not there and just wants to duke it out in debate? We tend to think we are either great and everyone loves us, or we are terrible and unworthy.The solution is in adopting the “And Stance” and ditching the “all or nothing” paradigm. We all have an inner voice that tells us when we need to have a difficult conversation with someone—a conversation that, if it took place, would improve life at the office for ourselves and for everyone else on our team. And the third mistake is to assign blame, which can quickly escalate the situation and take us further from any resolution. This is dangerous, the authors say, because unexpressed feelings tend to fester, find their way back into the conversation in nasty ways and prevent us from listening properly. Remember to listen from a viewpoint of genuine curiosity and ask questions to show that you are curious. In cultural engagement, conversations are a primary means of relational commerce. But our assumption are often wrong because we base them on our own feelings. So we should hesitate to go in a direction that tries to attribute motive to another and deflects the conversation in the process. Many efforts fail because people do not skillfully manage difficult conversations – they have different views on priorities, levels of investment, measures of success, and what constitutes correct implementation. The first conversation is about the substance. It is the one we tend to focus on the most—the object of discussion and our contribution to the subject matter. Pay attention to the three levels within the conversational perspective that might be getting in the way, but also seek to understand where the other person is coming from and why. So if we are hurt, then we tend to believe the other party intention was to hurt us, and that’s often just not the case. This would be stating the conversation from your own perspective: Your Own Perspetive: you always open the window open and it’s very cold in here”. It is not simple English anymore as in Level 1 and Level 2. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most A High-Level Summary of the Book by Stone, Patton and Heen Office of Human Resources The Ohio State University 1590 N. High St. Suite 300 Columbus, OH 43201-2190 . Three voices (triphonics) are in play in us at different levels, and they can drown out our ability to listen and connect to the other person in the conversation. 2. You cannot move the conversation into a more positive and constructive stage until the other person feels heard and understood. And once you can adit admit your mistakes and emotions, chances that your difficult conversations will go well will immediately rise. The third level is how our identity and self-understanding is impacted by what we are discussing. We call these levels the "Three Conversations." While difficult conversations can be stressful, you can navigate them calmly by having an inquisitive attitude and being genuinely interested in what the other person says. difficult conversations how to discuss what matters most, Day Game by Todd Valentine: Summary & Review, How to Learn: The Three Pillars of Mastery, How to Buy A House Cheap With 5 Unethical Life Hacks, Protected: Alpha Male Poses For Night Venues (Pictures), Protected: Intercultural Communication Is a Waste of Time. 2 Ingredients of Difficult Conversations Differing Perceptions In most difficult conversations, there are different perceptions of the same reality. Some conversations are very tough because they inherently touch our own sense of worth. So first, understand what the people involved are thinking and feeling, but not saying to each other. The three levels remind us that things are going on in our conversations other than the facts and the topic. Also, the personal views and feelings are no less -and no more- legitimate and important than any other party. Example: Discussing Open or Closed Window. When we set up a discussion this way, the path leads to a debate versus a conversation. When it comes to difficult conversations there are three types of leaders. Final thoughts. Needlessly to say, I highly recommend “Difficult Conversations”. Difficult Conversations teaches readers how to have constructive, respectful and effective conversations exactly when it’s most difficult to have those converastion: when the stakes are high, when you are very emotional nad when the last thing you would want is to talk. Am I looking bad or good in this?”. Second, there is the feelings level which often remains unspoken (Sarah felt angry about not being informed). In a difficult conversation, this is usually where the real action is. Ask them what would persuade them, and tell them what would persuade you. It communicates respect for the other person and allows the potential for a better exchange. What we should do instead is to understand what interpretations of those events are and what is important to each party. Once the other party feels heard, it calms them down, makes them more likely to hear you and exponentially increases the chances of effective problem resolution. The authors say that while many of us tend too often to avoid difficult conversations, sometimes it does indeed make no sense to have the conversation. About The Authors: Douglas and Heen are the founders of Triad Consulting Group, a corporate education and communication consulting firm founded by members of the Harvard Negotiation Project. The willingness to look for and think about these layers and pursue them can open fresh avenues in the conversation. How am I impacted in my soul by what is going on? He is often an expert for the media on NT issues. Before starting a difficult conversation, go through the three conversations and check the purposes behind wanting the conversation in the first place. You: OK, and does it inconvenience you when I leave you the window open?Them: Totally! In this level, we engage with the purpose of establishing assertions, garnering our evidence, and making the case. Sometimes, more often than we’d like, we have to engage in stressful conversations. The “What happened?” conversation. Does it feel like I’m being rude? In all of it, we need to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Often we are not aware this is going on because we are too busy simply reacting with our shields up in full throttle. State the facts. Difficult workplace conversations: the best strategies for managing them. That emotive leap can short circuit a good conversation by placing blame for breakdown on another (often for other reasons than the topic) while ignoring what may be going on within us. But even the most experienced project managers can feel nervous about having a difficult conversation. DTS Voice offers biblically-centered articles, stories, podcasts, and points of view from the DTS family designed to encourage and equip the church for gospel transformation. Usually the reason behind such strong feelings and emotions is that they have a lot at stake and they dread the consequences such as a conflict. They provide and detail some great tools, including: You: “it’s not okay to only look at my contribution. Ask the other person to do the same, so mutual understanding and listening are achieved. They suggest that working out on your own the three level of the conversation and drafting a “contribution map” without having the difficult conversation. Being open to “owning our junk” means making an effort to listen to what is being said to us. Often discussions taking place here are where the mix of emotional drivers and differing perceptions require a need not only to advocate, but to listen to the conversation partner for why differences exist. That is where understanding triphonics comes in handy. Level 3: Global Listening — Listening to others in the context of their entire surroundings. Whether in marriage, business, politics, theology, over skype, social media, or the phone, human conversations are precious commodities. Difficult conversations don’t need to be discussions to fight through; they may become moments where iron really does sharpen iron. They can either connect us to people or alienate us from them. The authors say we should instead focus on finding out how we all contribute to the situation. Detach Your Identity From The Conversation. You’re not bad because you have done a mistake.And you can keep interacting and working on things: an issue, a refusal or a mistake does not spell the end fo anything. If you are like me, we not only are listening, but we formulate our responses in reaction to the discussion. I would like to find out why you want it open, explain why it’s important for me to close it and find possible solutions. The simple solution is to ask the other party what was their intent. That will give you more insights and will also give you a better idea on whether it makes sense to have a conversation or if it’s mostly an issue that you have within yourself only -an identity crisis for example-. In other words, tone matters. But discom- fort and awkwardness are not limited to topics on the editorial page. “Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.” James 1:19. Blame or guessing the others ’ intentions I seen as a basic to... Best-Selling author in nonfiction and is elder emeritus at Trinity Fellowship Church in Dallas Message. Author in nonfiction and is elder emeritus at Trinity Fellowship Church in Dallas talking someone... 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