Do your Conversations Drag On and On?
Our September 2016 newsletter had an article called “Words Matter – Use Them Wisely”.
Often times not only do we not use words wisely but we don’t know why we are having a conversation! Especially at meetings. At board meetings, this often happens because we do not know the outcome needed from a particular agenda topic. Perhaps a decision is needed. Maybe there are next steps or research required. It could be all of the above!
As an executive coach I see this with new coaching clients - both groups and individuals. At the start of every conversation, I always ask the client what they want to focus on during this call or meeting. Nine out of ten times, the client will not know. They come, out of habit, and tell a story of what has happened since we last spoke.
It takes time for individuals to develop a new habit. This is one habit I encourage you to develop. Take a few minutes before each session to focus on what it is you want to achieve. If you work with a coach, he or she will help you incorporate this new habit by not going any further with the coaching session, until you state what you want to achieve as a result of your call or meeting. After all, the session is all about you!
The other challenge I see regularly that derails conversation is with the use of assumptions. We all make assumptions, regularly! We may decide why a particular event has happened without any factual knowledge or evidence. And worse. We assume everyone else in the room has the same assumption. If there is no factual evidence about a situation, I caution you to challenge any assumption and check in with everyone. A lot of damage can be caused by making assumptions – some more serious than others.
Know your outcomes and don’t make assumptions. You will notice how the quality of your conversations will improve. If a conversation goes off track – personal as well as business – you will able to redirect the conversation to achieve the outcome you require. And know that people are making decisions based on facts and not assumptions. You can save valuable time by not wasted on unproductive discussions!