Effective conversations encourage exploration of the contexts, behaviors, beliefs and relationships that influence how you and your team feel.
Set the emotional parameters for a space that enables this sort of exploration: spaces that feel safe, supportive and challenging.
Agree clear boundaries for behavior. Ground rules that encourage empathy, inclusivity, openness and courage work best. To get you started, here are a few we like…
- Seek to understand - rather than persuade
- Listen to the quieter ones (they often hold a truth)
- Try not to shut conversations down – instead of ‘but’, we will use ‘and’ to open conversations up
- Understand that every view matters (especially if you are the only one who holds it)
- Balance our listening and thinking time (active listening is key!)
- Look after those who may feel exposed - eg leaders, managers - and those who may feel ignored - eg the least powerful in the room
- Be honest
- Be on time - let others know if you can’t make it!
- Encourage each other to disconnect from outside (eg cell phones off, laptops closed) and to focus
- Have an open discussion but respect the privacy of others when needed (eg “what happens in Vegas…” / “Chatham House Rules”)
- Go for it - even if it feels a little uncomfortable sometimes!