Crucial Skills®

A Blog by Crucial Learning

Trainer Insights

Three Ideas for Personalizing Practice Sessions

When we set out a year ago to rebuild Crucial Conversations, our most important objective was to make it relevant. We needed people to see themselves—and their conversations—in this course.

More than ever before, we are being challenged to hold Crucial Conversations in a highly polarized, divisive environment. We’re challenging tough topics in the workplace, like racial justice, equity, vaccine mandates, personal choice, hybrid work environments, performance standards, and empathy. These conversations are rough, raw, real—and require skilled people to step up and navigate these Crucial Conversations that so profoundly impact our results and our relationships.

I’m excited for each of you to dive into our new Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue and Crucial Conversations for Accountability courses. They feature updated practice scenarios on topics, including inclusion, webcams, work overload, virtual manners, hiring practices, and family politics. I hope these scenarios will resonate with your learners.

I also hope you will use our scenarios as a starting place to engage your learners around the topics, situations, and conversations that matter most to them. While we work hard to craft practice scenarios that are relevant and reliable, we know that you are in a better position to know your learners and their needs. We encourage you to experiment with these scenarios and adapt them to better meet your learners where they are. Here are three ways you can personalize the practice scenarios for your audience.

Change the Jargon
A trainer once explained to me that while she loved the scenario on the learner guide, she couldn’t use it in her organization. Although the topic was completely reliable and relatable, she explained that they would never use the term “employee,” instead favoring “associate” or “team member.” I encouraged her to change words to better reflect the terminology her learners expected and then print out updated exercises for her learners. This quick change made the scenarios more accessible to her group.

Draft Your Own
Nothing says you need to use the scenarios we provide. You can use our scenarios as a framework, updating them to work better in your organization. Start by asking yourself with what do people in your organization struggle to discuss. Is there an example of this that you could use? Rather than draft from scratch, I recommend starting with the scenarios in the learner guide and adapting them to address situations more relevant to your learners.

In the Moment
You can also generate practice scenarios in the moment with your learners. For example, when teaching State My Path, you can have learners write down tough conversations on an index card (for in-person) or in the chat window (for virtual). Randomly choose one of the conversations and have learners practice stating their path in that situation. It doesn’t get much more real than that!

Whatever you do, remember that the goal of all our practices is to give learners an opportunity to use their new skills in a safe and realistic way.

Tell us how our new practices work in your organizations through our Facebook and/or LinkedIn group. We can’t wait to hear about your experiences!

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