Category: Communication Skills

The Role of Conversation

Change happens because people talk. Conversation is the work that people must do to change. The problem is, most leaders forget that their role is to create forums where people can talk about their work, ask what could be improved, and listen to their suggestions.

The Importance of Talk

People often ask me what the secret is to high-performing organizations. I surprise them by saying: “Talk.” As consultants, one of the first things we look for is the level of talk, the quality of talk, and who’s doing the talking.

The Four Powers of Communication

The word communication literally means “to make common.” At its most basic level, it means letting your needs be known. At its highest level, communication means building strong, trusting relationships with people…

Using the GROW Model to Facilitate Conversations

Effective conversations need to be organized so that people can move through them in a logical way. One technique is the GROW model. You can use this tool to manage virtually any kind of conversation. For people familiar with the Socratic inquiry, the GROW model is a way to remember each step along the path. …

Using Straight Talk® to Balance Your “AQ” and “EQ”

I was asked by the CEO of a large health care plan to coach one of his executives, the head of IT. “Mike’s got problems,” he told me. “People feel that he doesn’t listen to them. Some complain that he has stopped communicating with them. I’d like you to see if you can help.” My …

Dealing with Nay-Sayers

How do you deal effectively with nay-sayers? The executive branch manager of a large bank in California raised this question. One branch manager, who manages an office of 40 people, was unable to deal effectively with a couple of nay-sayers in her office. The executive branch manager told me: “Basically, whenever someone challenges her, she …

Ground Rules for Productive Meetings

Ground rules are the foundation of productive meetings. Using ground rules, teams can establish norms for what is – and is not – acceptable communication and create healthy environments in which to work together and deal with tough issues. We recommend that every team adopt ground rules similar to these to ensure productive meetings. Provide …

5 Trends in Workplace Communication

Several trends are making competence in communication more important today than ever before. First, the need to respond quickly to market changes creates the need for a less rigid and bureaucratic work environment. Information must quickly flow up, down, and across traditional channels. No longer is it enough to have a few skilled communicators at …

4 Keys to Highly Effective Meetings

The key to highly effective meetings is not what you do during the meeting, but what you do before and after the meeting. Here are four of the practices that we teach: 1. Take ownership of the agenda. Before the meeting, decide what outcomes you want, what decisions need to be made, the time required, …

Straight Talk® as a Management Tool

The Straight Talk® survey (GoStraightTalk.com) is a great tool for helping new employees fit in. Once you understand a person’s style, you will be better prepared as a manager to coach them effectively. The basic premise of Straight Talk® is that there are four primary styles of communication: Director, Expresser, Thinker, and Harmonizer. People tend to favor …