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3 Key Ingredients for Important Conversations

Interestingly, I recently had a “conversation” with a client about how to improve inter-company communication across cross-functional teams and multiple locations.

This conversation with my client reminded about an excellent article by Anthony Tjan called “How Good Are You at Critical Conversations?”.

What I discussed with my client and ultimately what Anthony’s book discusses is this:

1: You need to have the right participants and a conducive setting. Select the right type of meeting for the message being delivered. If it is particularly sensitive, use a one-on-one. If all your senior managers need to know the information at the same time, gather a small group. Be sure the physical set up allows for eye contact and projects the right vibe. When it is a meeting consisting of constituents in multiple locations or global, this becomes more of a challenge, this is when video conferencing can be more effective than a simple conference call. Regardless, the general principle applies – right people and right venue.

2: Credible and thoughtful intent. Your audience must understand and trust the purpose you have stated for the conversation. List in a clear, concise and direct manner the outcome and objectives you want from the meeting. Be thorough, direct and honest about what you really want to achieve. Sharing these intentions with your audience will gain their trust and ensure clarity in your discussion or message. This is very important when dealing with either multicultural or non-technical staff. This is especially relevant when having a conversation with global constituents or cross functional teams i.e. sales/marketing and finance/engineering.

3: Responsiveness and engagement. Respond to others’ needs as they surface. Make an emotional connection with your audience. Yes, this is hard to do on a concall or video conference, but your voice and tone can say a lot. Sometimes more than what you actually say! So ensure you deliver your conviction, empathy, or what ever other emotion with a sense of sincerity and sense of urgency. This applies to both one on ones and larger audiences.

Check out Anthony and what HRB said about Anthony’s blog article and this topic by clicking here

-DF

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Written by David Frederick

July 19, 2010 at 8:14 PM

Posted in Business, Management

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