For what?

“Thank you.” It’s polite, grateful, and appreciative. Hopefully, it’s also sincere and warm. “Thank you.” It’s nice to hear. But if “thank you” is all you say, you’re missing several important opportunities. When someone hears you state the specific thing you’re grateful for, they feel seen, valued, and truly appreciated. When they only hear a generic “thank you,” it can feel offhand …

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What’s in the space between?

In every relationship between two people, there are obviously two entities involved: the two people. What you may not realize is that there’s a third entity in the room. And leaving out that entity – especially when there’s disagreement or conflict happening – is a huge mistake. So what in the world am I talking about? The space between the …

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What you’re not taught (but should learn)

Why aren’t communication, negotiation, and conflict management skills taught in school? Starting in grade school. And in high school. And college. As a requirement, not an elective.* We leave school and wander off into the rest of our lives, mostly unskilled in the art of relationships, connection, negotiation, and real communication. The ability to have hard conversations is a keystone …

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Are ghosts and zombies real?

Are you a fan of horror movies and flesh-eating zombie shows? I’m not. Perhaps (and I say this slightly tongue-in-cheek) this is because I deal with so many real ghosts and zombies in my work … and, just like anyone else, in my personal life. Because ghosts and zombies are definitely real. They will haunt you, and they do eat your …

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It’s not my fault!

Most people don’t want to believe that they are the difficult person who’s causing a problem, or that they have any part in a miscommunication, disagreement, or conflict. That’s not just my opinion; it’s borne out by a recent survey conducted by Fierce, Inc. (founded by Fierce Conversations author Susan Scott) and Quantum Workplace. According to the report, only half of …

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The danger of “how to” scripts

There’s growing awareness that excellent communication is a make-or-break factor for success, whether for an individual leader developing their career, or an executive team running a large organization. But just how can a leader become more empathetic and more prepared to have these challenging, often difficult, yet essential conversations-that-matter? One could start with books; there are plenty out there, many …

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The high cost of poor communication

Sixty-five to 75% of change initiatives fail. Seventy percent of the spread between bad and good organizational culture is 100% due to leadership and management. Sixty-nine percent of the time, people quit because of their boss, not because of their job. All too often, known risk factors aren’t attended to until they blow up into big problems. We know all …

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Are you part of the 69%?

Sixty-nine percent. That’s how many managers say there’s “something about their role” that makes them uncomfortable communicating with their employees. It’s from a research survey conducted in 2016 by Interact Authentic Communication. I’d be very interested to know how many non-managers are uncomfortable communicating with their managers. I’m guessing it would be at least 69%, and probably more. I find this …

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Are you okay?

Simple questions. The answers seem straightforward. But are they? It’s a matter of interpretation. And misinterpretation can lead to fractured relationships, undercut credibility, and delayed projects. The question: “Are you okay?” Pat: “No.” Devon: “Yeah.” What Pat really means: “I have a headache and I’m tired; I don’t feel well, and that’s not okay.” What Devon really means: “I have a headache and I’m …

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Does empathy belong in the workplace?

What’s your biggest challenge in feeling understood? Not just thinking or believing that the other person understands what you’re saying. Truly feeling understood. Does that seem like a weird question? I ask because for each of us as individuals, the deepest goal of communication is to feel (not just “be”) understood. This is more than intellectual understanding; it’s the experience of connection with another person …

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