The dance of connection

A friend mentioned recently that she and her partner experience a lot of near misses in their interactions. As she put it, “communication zings by,” and it’s only later that she realizes what she heard maybe wasn’t exactly what was said – and vice versa. And this is a couple who’ve been happily together for over 20 years! We all know that different …

Three steps for handling chronic complainers

The chronic complainer. We’ve all encountered them. They love describing all the things that are wrong in the world – and not just once. It’s the same story every time we encounter them. And they suck the energy out of the room! We quickly start avoiding them, whether by running to the bathroom when we see them coming, or choosing …

When they don’t say “thank you”

You’re generous. They don’t say “thank you.” It’s a slap in the face. Why, you might think, did I even bother? And it’s hard to retain a sense of connection with your feelings of generosity, never mind your sense of connection with the other person.  How, you might think, can they be so rude and ungrateful? In the end, you have three …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …