Tips for More Effective and Constructive Communication

Going Around in Circles in a Conversation? Here’s How to Break That Cycle

A common question in ‘Difficult Conversations for Managers’ workshops is what to do when it feels like you are in one of those fruitless dialogues, repeating the same thing without achieving anything. The other person isn’t listening or taking on board what you need them to hear or understand. A recent example was where a…

Relationships that Endlessly Frustrate: Can the Dynamic Be Changed?

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” ~ Anaïs Nin The above quote neatly captures the psychological phenomenon, that while there is a factual and concrete reality out there, none of us have a truly objective view. There can be many different perceptions of the same situation. As an…

Emails…Are you Trigger Happy? Read this Before You Press ‘Send’

In the late eighties I taught in Germany on a two-year Business English programme. One of the course handbooks focused solely on writing business letters in English. The students were schooled in great detail on the etiquette and nuances of letters and memos in a variety of business contexts. These ranged from sales to commissioning…

Frustrated trying to deal with difficult behaviour? Try these 3 simple shifts

Frustrated trying to deal with difficult behaviour? Imagine you had a magic weather wand. A simple wave and you would have glorious sunshine, a gentle breeze with a cloudless blue sky above. With your magic wand you would lighten people’s moods, you’d lift people’s energy and motivation. In one swoosh, you could banish the grey…

The Secret Ingredient for Success in Difficult Conversations

Does the thought of difficult conversations make your stomach churn? Here’s the most important ingredient to make it work. In a recent holiday in Italy I went on a ‘Try a Dive’ lesson. The dive centre was at a sandy beach next to a clear blue lagoon. The water looked so inviting and delicious. But…

Difficult Conversation? Don’t Forget Your Oxygen Mask

Difficult Conversation? Don’t Forget Your Oxygen Mask! You’re sitting in an aeroplane with your three year old son. Suddenly, the plane starts to jolt and rock. You feel dizzy, it’s hard to breathe. The little boy starts wheezing and crying with pain. You can feel panic rising. From above oxygen masks drop down. Grabbing one…

Are you in ‘Parent’, ‘Child’ or ‘Adult’ Mode (or all 3!) at Work?

“But what if you needed to give her a telling off…” This was the comment of a participant in a recent ‘Difficult Conversations’ training session with a group of managers. The discussion was around the room layout and whether the manager should sit behind a desk or not, when giving negative feedback to an employee.…