For your next Critical Conversation, remember this:
- Start with the end in mind. Plan your conversation. Know your goal before you start. Ask, “What is it that I want to know by the end of this conversation that I don’t know now?”. Then you can steer the conversation toward your goal, and you’ll know when the conversation is complete.
- Breathe before you speak. Breathing does at least three important things for your ability to speak effectively: It relaxes you, helps you become present, and strengthens your vocal essence (the sound and quality of your voice).
- Just say it. Fear is what keeps you from speaking up. When it is time to say what needs to be said, just open your mouth and say it. Be kind, but be direct. Success requires courage. Courage empowers you to say what needs to be said.
- Give respect, expect respect. One of the most powerful ways you can use your voice and strengthen your relationships is to set clear boundaries – an expectation of what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Honor others’ boundaries and speak respectfully to others and of others. When you are disrespected, make the boundary clear. If needed, remove yourself from the conversation until respect can be given.
- Ask the powerful question, then shhhh… Clarity matters by asking questions. Negotiate by asking questions. Find solutions by asking questions. Then listen to the answers and hear the essence of what is being said.
- Don’t be afraid of silence. Silence is the space where information and emotions are processed. Don’t fill it with nervous energy by talking aimlessly to cover it up. Be confident that out of the silence, a breakthrough can emerge.
- Show up fully. Your presence is powerful. Tune out the distractions. Give your whole heart, your whole attention, and your whole self to your conversations. It will transform your relationships. It transforms how others see you and empowers new levels of success and happiness to unfold.