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My Difficult Conversations Notebook

My Difficult Conversations Notebook

This notebook provides a quick overview of this series and a starting point for your own notebook, as a support for practicing Difficult Conversation skills. The notebook can be download in multiple formats, including Excel. Enjoy ! Comments, suggestions and enquires:...

Closing the Loop on a Difficult Exchange

Closing the Loop on a Difficult Exchange

If you're hurtling downhill, over rocks and tree roots, on a cross-country bike, what do you concentrate on? If you're driving on a crowded motorway, with cars criss-crossing in front of you, what do you concentrate on? If you're in a meeting, with clever arguments...

Understanding and Expressing Needs in a Difficult Exchange

Understanding and Expressing Needs in a Difficult Exchange

A few weeks ago, in a parallel universe, a customer called and said, “Andy, we’ve been trying to use the software you sold us and have run into difficulties. In fact, we missed a critical delivery last week and management is telling me that failure this week is not an...

Explaining Feelings Accurately and Sensitively in a Difficult Exchange

Explaining Feelings Accurately and Sensitively in a Difficult Exchange

Imagine the following Difficult Conversations: I’ve messed up my calendar and have to explain to my partner that, instead of going out with them this evening, I must work late I’ve messed up my roadmap and have to explain to my boss that, instead of being able to...

Starting a Difficult Exchange Safely by being Brief and Factual

Starting a Difficult Exchange Safely by being Brief and Factual

Suraj and I broadcast a podcast on Difficult Conversations a few days ago and we asked participants for ideas on best practices. “Focus on the problem” was suggested and the person who’d suggested this explained: when confronting someone , talk about the issue and...

Adjusting Intentions when Leading a Difficult Conversation

Adjusting Intentions when Leading a Difficult Conversation

My customer brings up supply chain issues again, just as they did last meeting and the one before, and for as long as I can remember now. As usual, this is done just when I’m getting to topics that are important to me and the question is accompanied by an agonized,...

A Troll-Taming Loop for Reconciling a Difficult Exchange

A Troll-Taming Loop for Reconciling a Difficult Exchange

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way" (Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, 1878). We posit that a key attribute of happy families, and effective people in general, is that they can bring Difficult Conversations to a satisfactory...

Difficult Conversations, Bridges and Trolls

Difficult Conversations, Bridges and Trolls

Trolls are trouble when you want to cross a bridge. Especially when the bridge in question is slippery and swaying.  They can takes ages to deal with and, of course, trolls present a health and safety hazard. A Difficult Conversation is like crossing a troll bridge. ...

Possible Postures for Managing Up

Possible Postures for Managing Up

Possible Postures for Managing Up Here’s some good news about diverse communication skills, applicable to any context: if you question professional people about this topic today, you’ll get some excellent answers – significantly better, I believe, than what you could...

Learning Objectives Enable Flexibility in STMicroelectronics Training

Learning Objectives Enable Flexibility in STMicroelectronics Training

It may seem, when searching for training solutions, that the options are either Do It Yourself, represented here as Bleriot crossing the Channel in his own machine, or a low-risk, catalog-based solution - the P&O Ferry. Mega exciting on the one hand , but will it...

Why it’s hardest to communicate when it matters most

Why it’s hardest to communicate when it matters most

See also this video. Communication has special challenges when it comes to science and technology. Have you ever noticed that when you are burning to explain …when it seems really important to convince other people that you know what you’re talking about …then this is...

Do Your Best Thinking!

Do Your Best Thinking!

If you are trying to solve tough problems at the moment, then be careful not to let your mind brood or worry. Brooding is where you get stuck in the past, ruminating, kicking yourself for not buying Zoom shares in January, for example. Worrying is letting fear take a...

Half and half

Half and half

Anita Roddick* once said: If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room The corona virus seems to have taken the place of the mosquito 😉 So, making a virtue out of different necessities, my colleagues and I delivered...

NewsletterQ1-20

NewsletterQ1-20

Three easy-to-read items to keep in sync with you ...

Bees and FAEs

Bees and FAEs

At the start of a recent training course, each person introduced themselves by citing an animal that could do their job, then explaining why. One of the Field Application Engineers (FAEs) in the audience put forward a bee, saying that they buzzed around busily,...

A Goal Setting Tail

A Goal Setting Tail

Don't worry, this isn’t the old story about the insecure dyslexic, insomniac atheist who lays awake at night wondering if there really is a Dog. It's about the strange but ultimately effective path that my dog takes when I call him and why this could be a valuable...

The Hurry Monster, RIP

The Hurry Monster, RIP

Apparently, I suffer from an affliction which most people manage to avoid. A weird mixture of intellectual laziness and hyperactivity, it once led me to attempt the reduction of German grammar to a handful of equations. Preferably to one equation. Einstein had managed...

A Problem-Solving Experience

A Problem-Solving Experience

Cycling quite fast down a narrow mountain road, I met a lorry coming up it. The result was eight broken ribs on one side, a broken shoulder on the other and a huge problem with getting out of bed. Problem-solving methodologies can be usefully classified as either...