You may do many things well, but if you talk like a fool, people determine you’re a fool.
Effective leadership hinges on powerful conversations.
Recurring frustration points to the one person who is always present in all the conversations you have, you. That singular concept is enough to make me pay attention to John R. Stoker and his new book “Overcoming Fake Talk.”
*Image from "Overcoming Fake Talk."
All effective conversations produce:
- Useful results.
- Deepened respect.
- Stronger relationships.
4 elements of powerful conversations:
- Recognize and suspend your thinking or judging. Stoker challenged me on my listening skills. I wrote about it in yesterday’s post. (Check out the book giveaway.)
- Express your thoughts, feelings, experiences, or opinions without creating resistance in others. “‘Put downs’ lead to ‘shut downs’.” John R. Stoker
- Ask questions to increase your understanding.
- Listening and attending to the messages that others are expressing verbally and nonverbally.
Effective questions address…
- What happened?
- What were the results?
- What did you do?
- How did you create these results?
- What did you want?
- What assumptions did you make?
- Why was that so important?
- What was most important to consider?
Great questions improve results, deepen respect, and strengthen relationships.
Begin your questioning journey with results but always drive toward values.
Negative versus positive questions:
- Did you finish that yet? … What’s working or not working?
- Why did you do that? … What did you do?
- Did you know that…?” … Why is that so important?
- Don’t you think you should…? … What did you do?
Which part of REAL resonates with you? Why?
What suggestions can you give that will enhance REAL conversations?
*This post is based on “Overcoming Fake Talk” by John R. Stoker.
Leave a comment on YESTERDAY’S POST to become eligible for one of twenty free copies of “Overcoming Fake Talk: How to Hold REAL Conversations that Create Respect, Build Relationships, and Get Results” by John R. Stoker.
Meet John R. Stoker.
Buy “Overcoming Fake Talk.” I heartily recommend it.
Connect with John:
We teach our coaches to use action words that help frame investigative questions a little better. For example, instead of using the word “what” to start a question, why not use the words “share” or “explain” or “tell” as in “Share more with me about the approach you took to solve that problem” or “I’d love to hear more about your leadership vision. Tell me all about it!”
I think the key is your underperformers need to know they will be held accountable and your high performers and high potential people ned to know they will be nurtured and have the right environment to grow in. Better investigative questions accomplish both tasks with equal aplomb.
Thanks Alf. Brilliant contribution. Softening the front end of curiosity feels like opening a door. How direct we are may depend on the nature of our relationship and goal of the conversation.
Wow, the ‘R’ in real sounds very challenging but powerful. “Recognize AND suspend your thinking or judging.” I’m going to try to practice that today as much as possible and put the acronym somewhere it can jog my memory. Maybe a tattoo on my forearm?
Thanks James. I’m with you. John book helped me see that I still hang on to some unproductive practices like judging… I wrote the list yesterday.
Regarding the tattoo: I think I need one on the forehead written in mirror writing. 🙂
I’m glad it’s journey. Best to you.
All good stuff, I’m have been working on Listening, staying positive and staying real with the customer, understand what they want and give them real results. “Actions speak louder than words” so they say. Cheers!
Thanks Tim. I told John that his book on conversations helped me the most with listening. (Funny how that works.) Cheers!
Putting that to use straight away – I’m even using it as a framework to proactively ‘explain myself’ to my CEO, and myself, – right now!! thanks for the reminder (must you keep getting into my head 🙂 )and thanks for The Secret.
Thanks Richard. I’m with you. REAL is really good. That little phrase on the end of #2 really kicks butt — Express your thoughts, feelings, experiences, or opinions WITHOUT creating resistance in others.
Regarding your head: When I get in your head, I get more done. You are a man of action!
You’re welcome for The Secret. 🙂
Glad to see “drive toward values” included. Values (shared or not) are a key aspect of the conversation equation.
“Express your thoughts, feelings, experiences, or opinions without creating resistance in others.” This can be very difficult some days, not because of what one says or even how. If for any reason someone distrusts your motives, the simplest thing can be misinterpreted. Making motives transparent is not so easy.
Nice post, Dan.
Thanks Steven. The values questions are my favorite. John helped me craft a path to get there. Typically, I start with the values questions.
Yup! The “without creating resistance” part is the challenge. Your focus on motives is helpful. Thanks again!
Oh, very good. People recognise the difference
Thanks Rajiv. Good seeing you here today.
I especially appreciate the “L” in REAL where it says – 4.Listening and attending to the messages that others are expressing verbally and nonverbally. So often, people miss the nonverbal clues in communication. This is an area where the shy/quiet people get missed. Good information may be out there in someone unable to verbalize their thoughts.
Thanks Dianna. Drucker said “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” Thanks for dropping in today.
There is an interesting interplay between belief and value because our values are based on our beliefs and our beliefs are often also based on what we value. Questions that engage leaders in deep thought which bring out their values and beliefs without asking pointedly “what do you value” or “what do you believe”,.have the greatest potential for self discovery that can lead to growth and change..Leaders would often much prefer when they feel that they are determining their own path rather than having someone else tell them what steps to take in life.
One of my favorite quotes is Lincoln’s …”this better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt.”
This topic is where an ounce of psychology may be worth a pound of productivity. Communication that is nurturing and fosters new ideas and validates team members is extraordinary and strategically wise.
Fantastic topic. Thanks