Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts with the tag “Difficult Conversations”

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  • October 22, 2019

    Working On Yourself Alone: A Metaskill for Difficult Conversations

    Working On Yourself Alone: A Metaskill for Difficult Conversations

    I had to have a difficult conversation. I was invited to deliver a training for the organizational development team at a large U.S. tech company. At the last minute the company said they wanted one of their facilitators to partner with me. I was already at the site, and I could see they wanted to give this person (let's call him Max) some experience, and I said OK.

    I explained to Max how to follow my lead. I indicated where he could be of assistance, and asked him to otherwise be an observer of the group. Things went well for a while, but soon Max began to add content, most of which seemed designed to show his expertise but wasn't relevant. When I asked a question of the group, Max spoke instead, taking a "front of the room" position and expanding on the topic.

    At the break I decided to talk with Max. I should tell you first that confronting people is not my favorite thing. My default style in conflict is to accommodate. But there was a job to do here, a group experience at stake, and objectives to be met. A strong purpose to protect the training experience propelled me to speak....

  • October 9, 2018

    A Failure to Communicate: Part 3--Consider Your Purpose

    A Failure to Communicate: Part 3--Consider Your Purpose

    I titled this post before I started writing it, with the intention of talking about the one piece of a difficult conversation that steers the ship--my purpose for holding it. Then, it occurred to me that the purpose of any conversation is intimately connected to the purpose for my life, my work, my reason for being. For example:

    • Why do I hold certain conversations and not others?
    • What makes this one worthy of my energy and time?
    • How would things unfold if I didn't bring up the issue?
    • What are the consequences of this decision, pro and con?

    A lot goes into the decision for me and, I hope, for you. Because whether and how I express myself, listen, acknowledge you (if I do), and look for mutual ground (or not), says a lot about who I am...

  • September 11, 2018

    When There's a Failure to Communicate: Choose Love

    When There's a Failure to Communicate: Choose Love

    We appear to be taking sides on everything.

    • Immigration
    • Gun control
    • The economy
    • Our schools
    • Workplace and family issues 

    Even Nike commercials. 

    We've stopped talking with each other. And we must find a way to reverse this trend--somehow....

  • June 19, 2018

    Making "I Statements" Easy: A Feeling, A Need, A Request

    Making

    Reading a recent online post, I was struck by the author's thoughts on the "I-statement." She was referring to the sometimes tricky communication technique by which I express to you a need, a feeling, or a request, by putting the responsibility for clarity or understanding on myself, rather than on you. It helps me communicate the impact of your behavior, whether positive or otherwise.

    Think of a recent verbal conflict. Did you make accusations like "You always ___! You never ___! You are such a ___! You make me feel ___!"

    Notice how the focus of those statements is on the other person--the "you" you are facing in the fight. An "I" statement shifts the focus and helps you express what's going on for you, as in, "I'm feeling surprised at your remark. I need to hear more in order to understand what's behind it. I'm asking you to elaborate." Your conflict partner is less likely to feel defensive, when you leave the "you" out. And you're more likely to connect by stating the need behind your feeling.

  • June 5, 2018

    Make That Pit Stop

    Make That Pit Stop

    Race car drivers – make pit stops to go at top speed.  To get top understanding in a conversation — do the same thing.

    Many thanks to Carrol Suzuki (www.listeningbetter.com) for the gift of this post....

  • April 24, 2018

    Defusing Customer Disputes: 7 Strategies

    Defusing Customer Disputes: 7 Strategies

    Defusing difficult or angry customers calmly and assertively benefits the company, the customer, and the service representative. Managing any difficult situation requires clear communication and intention. You improve with practice. And the rewards, both in terms of personal comfort and bottom line profit, are great. The key lies in your ability to manage yourself so that you can manage and support the customer.

  • March 27, 2018

    Aikido Off the Mat: Tenkan and Acknowledgment

    Aikido Off the Mat: Tenkan and Acknowledgment

    (from my new book, Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace, to be published April 2019, by Career Press)

    Quite a few Ki Moments posts over the years have focused on the power of acknowledgment in difficult conversations. I've even called it the "secret sauce" on occasion, because acknowledgment demonstrates respect for my partner’s position, and respect is a powerful thing.

    In aikido, there’s a body movement called tenkan, most often translated as “convert” or “change.” Tenkan “converts” the aikido attack into energy I can use, and is a physical embodiment of acknowledgment...

  • February 14, 2017

    Conflict as a Gift

    Conflict as a Gift

    A key belief and teaching in conflict resolution is that conflict can be useful--an opportunity to learn, grow and see something the conflict is trying to show us.

    Why then do we run from conflict or turn it into life- and relationship-threatening wars? Why do we behave as if conflict is the opposite of a gift--a terrible, negative thing? Some reasons are fear, poor role models, and lack of skill, to name a few...

  • January 31, 2017

    Naive Realism: Cornering the Market on Truth

    Naive Realism: Cornering the Market on Truth

    It's been a crowded few weeks since our new year began. I've been busy working on my second book designed to help managers, supervisors and leaders work with coworkers in conflict. I'm really enjoying the process and learning a lot.

    It's also been a turbulent and dramatic time in the U.S. and the world. As citizens of a great nation, we continue to take positions rather than work together to solve our differences. People ask me what they should do. I tell them to work their side of the street. Don't expect to change people--their beliefs, values, or politics--with physical or verbal force.

    The majority of the work in any successful conflict conversation is work you do on yourself. No matter how well (or poorly) the conversation goes, you need to stay in charge of yourself, your purpose and your emotional energy. Breathe, center, and notice when you lose center--and choose to return again. This is Aikido.

    To that end, this post offers some insight into a concept called naive realismNaive realism makes conflict conversations difficult, because we think we've cornered the market on truth...

  • December 20, 2016

    My Invisible Earphones

    My Invisible Earphones

    This holiday season if the conversation turns difficult, notice if you've tuned the speaker out with "invisible earphones" and are listening only to your own internal voice.

    Enjoy this brief post by Carrol Suzuki, recognized as one of North America's premier business and workplace listening coaches.

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