Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rebecca speaks at PWC - Managing Difficult Conversations

I gave a presentation to over 120 employees at PriceWaterhouseCoopers yesterday, all about 'managing difficult conversations'.

'Miscommunication' is such a common issue and the cause of many a disagreement. We all have a tendency to mind-read how other people might be thinking; we make assumptions; and often exude sweeping generalisations as to how things appear to us.

This is an enormous topic so I thought I'd pull out 4 key thoughts to share with you here :

1. Use specifics whenever possible. Instead of making (sometimes absurd) generalisations, offer specific examples to make your point. The more specific you are, the better.

2. Never assume that your definition of any word is the same definition that your counterpart would apply. For instance: I might view 'openness' as 'giving you a snapshot of my weekend', whilst you may see 'openness' as 'spending 40 minutes discussing every last detail of the weekend, what you had to eat, who you met, and who you fell in love with...'

3. If criticising anyone make sure you do this at the level of 'behaviour' and not 'identity'. For example: "When you forgot to put the bin out, it annoyed me" is a world apart from simply, "You are hopeless!"

4. Respect others' views; they may genuinely 'see' things differently to you.

If you want to share any comments or experiences, please do! - RW

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