How to craft an effective conversation

What is leadership, art or science? Leadership is all about creating conversations. And conversations need to be well crafted. How to do that is the theme of today's post. According to Wikipedia, to describe something as a craft is to describe it as lying somewhere between an art (which relies on talent and technique) and a science (which relies on knowledge). 

4 ways to craft an effective conversation.

1. Know your purpose

Before you start a conversation with anybody in your business circle, you need to know what you want the conversation to accomplish. If you don’t have a clear goal, the conversation can become too long, unclear, or even conflictive. In other words, it becomes a waste of time and energy for all involved.

2. Control your mind

Whenever you are interacting with others, you tend to keep a running commentary of relevant and irrelevant stuff. Things like:

  • What is she thinking about me?
  • Does he think I’m good enough for this job?
  • What if we can’t make payroll this month?
  • Gosh, that tie is ugly.
  • That’s a crazy idea!
  • I've got to pick up my mother-in-law at the airport in two hours.
  • Etc., etc., etc.

This constant mental noise pulls your attention away from the conversation and into your world. As a result, you'll only hear a percentage of what the other person is saying. You'll be more likely to misunderstand and misremember what was said.

When a craftsman is creating something, his or her attention is not in what others think, or what else needs to be done. The attention is captured by what is happening in the moment. To have an effective conversation you have to let everything else go and focus on crafting the conversation at hand.

3. Check your understanding

Don’t assume you already know what the other one means. Don’t base you answer on a misunderstanding. Restate what the other person said and any inferences you have made about it.

Restating your understanding of what was said gives the other person an opportunity to correct your perception or elaborate, as necessary, to make sure that you "get it." It will also prevent jumping to the wrong conclusion.

4. Wear your thinking hat

Take a moment to reflect in what is being said, and your reaction to the conversation. Respond with a statement, story, or question that adds to the conversation and moves it closer to its point and purpose.

It’s in the reflective moment that change and growth happens. When everybody involved in the conversation take the time to think and reflect, not only to blurt out their knee jerk reaction, the conversation deepens and allows for understanding and meaning to emerge.

Remember. . .

Don't just talk. Craft an effective conversation!

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