Crucial Skills®

A Blog by Crucial Learning

Trainer Insights

How can I help participants address the right crucial conversation?

Dave AngelDave Angel is a Master Trainer.

QMy participants often ask how they can be certain if they are really addressing the right crucial conversation. I’d appreciate any insights on how to effectively answer this question.

A Great question! If our ultimate goal in dialogue is to produce results and strengthen relationships, we need to ensure we are holding the right conversation. But just because we are talking, doesn’t mean we are holding the right conversation.

Think about the last time you were frustrated with a conversation that didn’t go well. Did you end up feeling like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”; holding the same conversation over and over but expecting different results? If you did, you were probably holding the wrong conversation.

Another way you know you are holding the wrong conversation is when the other person continues to go to silence or violence. You need to be able to recognize that the conditions of dialogue are failing and work to restore safety. We also go astray when we focus on the wrong issue.

One of my favorite methods for focusing on the right conversation is to utilize the skill-set of CPR. As you prepare to dialogue, think about what is most important to you and what you really want the outcome to be.

Sometimes we need to talk about a specific, one-time occurrence and so we focus on the Content; what was said and done. If we find there is a recurrent problem we can then take it to a deeper level and address the Pattern of behavior. If you’ve addressed the Content and the Pattern of behavior and you still aren’t getting results you can take it to the deepest level and focus on how it is impacting the Relationship.

When you are trying to determine at what level to enter the conversation, ask yourself: “What’s most important to me?” Is it a one-time occurrence, a pattern of behavior, or something that is really impacting the relationship? If you are unsure, I always encourage people to start with Content. If you find you’re not getting results, look for a Pattern of behavior. If you still find yourself stuck, focus on how the Relationship is suffering.

The next time you find you’re not getting the desired results or wonder if you are holding the right conversation, consider using CPR. I find this important skill-set helpful in getting back to dialogue, producing results, and strengthening relationships

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