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10 Principles to Optimize Your Business Results: Principle #6 – Conversational Dynamics

07 Dec

Ever had a conversation with someone that just wasn’t going anywhere? You’re trying to get to the heart of an issue and resolve it, and the other party is replying but not actually responding? It happens all the time — and we’re going to examine why here in Principle #6.

Conversations come in two main “flavors” — reactive and collaborative. Reactive conversations undermine communication between individuals or teams, while collaborative conversations enhance it. Reactive conversations build walls, while collaborative conversations build bridges.

Each of these main categories contains a pair of sub-categories that characterize it. Reactive conversations tend to be inauthentic and closed. “Inauthentic” means that the speakers refuse to talk about how they really feel, while “closed” means they don’t want to hear how others really feel. So it’ll come as no surprise to you that collaborative conversations tend to be the opposite — authentic and open. “Authentic” means that both parties are willing to honestly discuss their issues, and “open” means that they engage their ears to hear the other’s issues without getting defensive or upset and shutting down communications.

Obviously, collaborative conversations achieve far more than reactive ones in a business environment (and anywhere else, for that matter). But how do you go about creating them? We’re only human, and humans get defensive. We get upset. We stop listening. We insist on our point of view. How can we transcend ourselves?

For starters, you have to learn and practice the speaking and listening skills of authentic conversations to resolve issues.

Then you have to keep in mind the success principles we’ve already discussed. Keeping the big picture in mind, for instance, reminds us of our common goal — implementing the company’s strategy. That means teamwork, and teamwork only comes about when we listen to each other. Remember, conversations are the glue that holds your business systems together. Go for the strongest glue you can get!

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