Crucial Conversations: “Start With The Heart”
Life is full of “hard conversations,” which we avoid because they are often fraught with the risk of hurt feelings and defensive postures. Life requires difficult conversations, and our school community is no exception. We need conversations between teachers and students, parents and teachers, teaching peers, faculty and staff, and so on.
7 Rules for Successful Crucial Conversations
Begin with the heart.
To avoid succumbing to emotional impulses and making poor decisions, it is critical to understand and focus on what you truly desire.
Assume you’re trying to book an urgent case, and the OR board brings up that you were late into the room three days ago. This challenge may offend you and tempt you to be dismissive or angry. This is a common issue in meaningful conversations: you lose sight of your original goals (getting your case booked) and become distracted by less noble purposes such as winning an argument, punishing the other person, or avoiding conflict. Breaking down your goals and staying on track to focus on what you truly desire is critical.
Maintain the conversation
When communication breaks down, it is critical to identify this as soon as possible. Recognize nonverbal cues (including your own) that indicate a breakdown in a conversation. The key to getting the discussion back on track is to make people feel safe by listening to what they have to say. This will give them the impression that their views are respected and valued. To truly listen to someone, follow the four steps outlined in the acronym AMPP:
“I would love to hear your thoughts on…”
“You appear to be frustrated by…”
“I think what I’m hearing is…”
“I understand you think I’m wrong about this,” Prime says.
Make it secure.
When you recognize that you or others are feeling unsafe, it is time to reset, restore safety, and resume the conversation.
People have frequently interpreted what has been said in a negative light.
This should be addressed frequently by simply restating your positive intent. “Can we pause for a second?” for example. My intention is not to make you feel bad. My purpose is to assist us both in finding a way out of this together.”
Don’t be sucked in by emotion (or hook them)
To maintain a meaningful conversation, you must manage your emotions. When emotions take over logic, it is easy to become ‘hooked.’ We can do three things to avoid becoming addicted:
1) Maintain your focus on what you truly desire.
2) Don’t play the game (just knowing you’re playing it makes you less likely to be caught by it)
3) Avoid the Fool’s Choice, where we find ourselves in a situation with only two options. Consider how you can achieve both objectives.
So, how can we speak honestly without offending anyone and risking the conversation being cut off?
There are five tools available to assist you in starting your path:
-Explain the facts
-Tell us about your experience (i.e., the meaning you are making of these facts)
-Ask about the other person’s journey/story.
-Speak tentatively- Tell your story as a story, not as fact.
-Encourage testing – The goal is to reach a shared understanding of the facts as a solid foundation for agreeing on the next steps.
Determine a common goal.
The overall goal is to find a mutual goal on which both parties can agree. This requires both sides to give and take. A helpful acronym (CRIB) summarizes the four skills needed to return to a common goal:
- Commit to pursuing a common goal.
- Understand the strategy’s purpose.
- Create a shared goal.
- Create new strategies.
- Separate the facts from the story.
It is critical to distinguish between facts and stories. Often, each party will have concocted a completely different story based on the same points. The facts must first be agreed upon. If the discussion veers off course, always bring it back to areas of standard agreement (e.g., attributes or shared purpose). Next, have both parties create a larger shared story. We can only begin to devise an action plan once we have a shared meaning.
Create a detailed action plan.
By this point, both parties have reached an agreement and can look into ways to improve the situation. There are several decision-making methods, and both parties must understand how a decision will be made. Once a decision has been made, action plans must be developed and assigned to specific individuals. Finally, a planned follow-up in which everyone is held accountable is required.
Crucial Conversations: “Start With The Heart”
Discuss application of concepts in Chapter 3 of the attached book. Use appropriate grammar, sentence structure and word choice and correctly cite sources.