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The Necessary / Crucial Conversations of Leadership Prep / Effective Communicator Prep

As you seek to advance your career in your organization, business, industry or academia, think about what you can learn from the following experts and how you can incorporate their ideas into the way you communicate at work and home.

1. Celeste Headlee – 10 ways to have a better conversation

When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don’t converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. “Go out, talk to people, listen to people,” she says. “And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”

Think about it

Which of Celeste’s 10 points strike you as the most interesting?
1- Don’t multi-task
2- Don’t pontificate
3- Use open-ended questions
4- Go with the flow
5- If you don’t know, say that you don’t know
6- Don’t equate your experience with theirs
7- Try not to repeat yourself
8- Stay out of the weeds
9- Listen
10- Be brief

2. Simon Sinek – How great leaders inspire action

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership and persuasion all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?”

His model consists of 3 concentric circles. From the inside out, they represent the motivators of human behaviour, the why, the how and the what.

Sinek argues that when we are in touch with what really motivates us: our values and how we understand our own ‘why’, then we will attract and persuade others and achieve amazing outcomes.

Understanding the golden circle and the inside-out flow of meaning is the only way to truly energize, inspire and empower colleagues and employees to achieve shared goals at work.

Sinek says leaders who want to inspire and persuade others should never ask their colleagues and direct reports to ‘buy’ into or commit to the what until they have spent time helping them understand and commit to the why – the deeper motivators that help make sense of and energize why something needs to be done.
[Listen to the first 11 mins]

Think about it
1- How often have you helped a colleague or direct report understand the why, rather than just the what and how?
2- How can you change your approach to incorporate this shift into your leadership style?
3- How will this approach help you communicate and engage others better?
4- How will an inside-out approach help you resolve potential conflict before relationships become toxic?

Identify at least one idea that you can use to improve the way you communicate

3. Margaret Heffernan – Good disagreement is central to progress

Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but as Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers — and how great leaders, teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.

The former CEO of five businesses, Margaret Heffernan explores the all-too-human thought patterns — like conflict avoidance and selective blindness — that lead managers and organizations astray. [12:56]

Think about it within the context of persuasion and communication

1- How can you dare to disagree and turn an issue into a more productive and creative outcome?
2- How can you see people who oppose your ideas as a type of thinking partner, rather than the ‘enemy’?

Identify at least one idea that you can use to improve the way you persuade others and communicate

4. Dan Pink – The ABCs of Persuasion

Dan pink suggests that if you need to communicate and persuade others, you are in ‘sales’. In other words, a big portion of what you do every day involves selling – a message, a proposal, a change, an idea etc. In the latest RSA Short, best selling author Dan Pink shows us how to influence others more effectively; it’s as simple as A-B-C. Whether we’re employees pitching to our bosses, parents and teachers cajoling kids, or politicians presenting new policies, we can all improve the way we persuade others. [3:11]

Think about it within the context of persuasion and communications

1- What are the ABCs of persuasion?
2- How does changing the ‘A’ of persuasion help you be a better communicator?
3- How does knowing about ‘B’ help you stay engaged at work when you do not feel heard?
4- Dan Pink talks about ‘C’ – what do you need to do more of to get better results?
Did you spot the typo in the animated short?

Identify at least one idea that you can use to improve the way you communicate and persuade others at work

5. Katherine Hampsten & Andrew Foerster – How miscommunication happens and how to avoid it

Have you ever talked with a friend about a problem, only to realize that he just doesn’t seem to grasp why the issue is so important to you? Have you ever presented an idea to a group, and it’s met with utter confusion? What’s going on here? The authors describe why miscommunication occurs so frequently, and how we can minimize frustration while expressing ourselves better. [4:31]

Think about it

1- Can you recall the four action points at the end of the video?
2- A simplistic, one-way communication style is called “transmission.” What is a more effective communication practice called?
2- What can you add to the way you communicate so you come across more effectively?
3- What can you subtract from the way you communicate so you come across more effectively?

What small, sustainable communication change can you make that will stand a good chance of becoming a new, positive habit?


Bonus – Are you a good listener?

Think about it
1- When listening does not happen, these conversations often degenerate into . . . ?
2- Good listeners do four things. What are these four practices?
3- The person who is being listened to experiences what?
4- Good listening is the key to what?

Bonus – Brené Brown on Empathy

Think about it
1- Do you agree with Brown’s definition of sympathy?
2- How would you define the key difference between sympathy and empathy?
3- Brown refers to Theresa Wiseman’s four qualities of empathy. What are they?
4- Brown says empathy is a . . . choice? Why?
5- She says it is not the response that makes people feel better but the . . . ?
6- How can you do more of this – the answer to Q5 – at work?

Bonus – Brené Brown on Blame

You are probably a bit of a blamer – most of us are. But why should we give it up? Inspirational thinker Brené Brown considers why we blame others, how it sabotages our relationships, and why we desperately need to move beyond this toxic behaviour.

Think about it
1- Blame is discharging discomfort and pain and has an inverse relationship with accountability. What does Brené Brown mean?
2- Accountability is a vulnerable process – it means talking about your (???)
3- Blame gives us a semblance of control as we discharge (???). People who blame a lot seldom have the tenacity and grit to hold people accountable. Instead, they rage about who’s (???) something is.
4- Blaming is very corrosive in relationships and is one of the reasons we miss opportunities for (???).

Communications Quiz

Once you have watched the videos and completed the reading that was sent to you, please do the

I look forward to meeting you on the program.
~Dene Rossouw

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