Masterful Conversations Workshop from ChoicePoint Consulting
June 5 & 6, 2013 – Boulder, Colorado
Have you ever struggled to provide difficult feedback to a direct report? Do you find it difficult to raise a tough topic with your manager? Would you like to be able to transform conflict with a peer into a productive conversation?
In this dynamic and interactive course, participants are introduced to the key tools and elements that facilitate masterful conversations while preserving important relationships. Masterful Conversations helps you learn the core skills and mindsets necessary for initiating and leading a difficult conversation.
Participants gain an understanding of:
- Balancing advocacy and inquiry
- The ladder of inference
- Practice using reflective listening
- Emotional triggers and their impact on conversations
- Empathy with another person’s strong feelings while not agreeing/disagreeing with the other’s point of view
- Managing one’s own judgments and strong feelings and transforming those for productive purposes in the conversation.
Masterful Conversations workshops typically include the following modules
Personal Case. A personal case is the transcript of an actual conversation that a participant has recently had. Participants are asked to choose a conversation in which they did not get the business results they wanted or the professional relationships involved were damaged. These cases provide specific data that each participant will use to identify their listening tendencies. We will use the cases in a number of ways during the workshop, including identifying patterns of less effective action in each participant’s communication habits or style.
External Skills and Behaviors
Focuses on what we say and do when we communicate. In this module, we focus on advocacy (telling our story about a situation), inquiry (trying to understand the other party’s viewpoint), and acknowledgment (testing your understanding of the other person’s key messages).
Understanding Mental Models This group exercise surfaces participants’ subjective values and assumptions that inform their diverse moral reasoning and partisan perceptions. Using a shared scenario open to multiple interpretations, participants grapple with their varied reactions to the narrative, illustrative of the dynamics of mental models. This is followed by a brief lecture on mental models as the underpinnings of our perceptive process.
Internal Thoughts and Feelings. This module introduces participants to a series of tools for managing their internal monologue and reactions as conversations escalate. The distinction between observations and assessments is taught and applied to their personal case. The ladder of inference is a robust tool for understanding the dynamics embedded in managing divergent points of view as well as a roadmap for handling conflict
Managing Our Own Feelings in Conversation. This module introduces participants to the concept of an emotional footprint: each individual’s emotional triggers and reactions; their own emotional repertoire and range; the clues and symptoms that they are off balance; and tools they can use for managing their own emotional responses to a tough conversation. This module increases participant’s self-knowledge in the feelings domain and provides strategies for calming down and maintaining greater equilibrium in conversation.
Managing Other’s Feelings in Conversation. In this exercise, participants explore the practice of empathy — the ability to identify with the feelings, thoughts, and attitudes of others. Through role playing, they learn to listen for the meaning of the other person’s points of view and demonstrate that they have heard what was conveyed. Participants also practice tracking non-verbal behavior, becoming attuned to signals such as facial expressions, voice tone, body language, affect, and eye contact. The art of empathy is one of mirroring as well as attunement and this unit offers participants to enhance their skill at responding empathically in acute situations
Role Reversal Exercise. In this exercise, participants study a real conversation of their own, either historical or upcoming, from the perspective of the other person in the conversation. Working with a partner, participants are taken through a number of steps that include enrolling them as the absent party to see what it is like to be on the other side of the challenging conversation. This introduces participants to a process they can use, going forward, for preparing for an upcoming conversation.
Redesigning the Left-Hand Column Case. Working in pairs, participants spend time redesigning their personal case, actively examining the driving dynamics, assumptions, and filters they are bringing to the difficult conversation. Enhanced personal awareness and greater familiarity with models of conflict resolution result from this experience.
Purposes of Conversations. This brief talk highlights the benefits of preparing systematically for a business conversation by clarifying your purpose and aligning your strategy to that purpose. The final exercise of the class asks the participants to produce an action plan for their continued learning and practice as well as a strategy for addressing the specific case they have been examining during the training.
$850 per participant.