Navigating Challenging Conversations, Part 1

The ability to navigate our way through a challenging conversation is always a great skill to have, especially when there are large issues to be discussed. And especially when we know people have big opinions and big emotions.

I am in the process of re-examining my entire set of tactics and behaviors around challenging conversations… I have been thinking about this a lot. And as I break down my prior beliefs, and build a new foundation for myself, I will share with you.

Here are three foundational mindsets that are important to have before the conversation begins:

  1. If you want to change someone’s mind on something, what you want is only half of the change equation. And it might not even be the most important half. Their starting point is arguably more important to your potential success. So you better have some idea what their starting point is.
  2. Your chances for success go up exponentially if you invite the audience into conversation, rather than impose a lecture upon them. Every reasonable facilitator who teaches adults for a living will tell you the same thing… that adults learn more and are more open minded to change when you draw them into conversation. Lecture them, and they will tune you out.
  3. No one’s mind is open to other beliefs when they are under attack. This is basic human DNA. Attack, and and your audience will shut down. Attack, and the human mind is solely focused on self-defense. And no one is open to different ideas when they are in a defensive posture.

More to follow. Have a great day.

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Corporation’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.