What do you do all day? When you get right down to it...
I read, I write and I talk to people. But the talking to people is the most important bit.
When I was working as a researcher, I spent some time visiting people in their homes and interviewing them about various things. I was always so surprised at how open and friendly people were once they'd let you into their home. Just spending a few minutes at the beginning of the conversation doing some "active listening", nodding your head, not interrupting, asking questions that show you're paying attention to what they're saying and then, it's amazing. They relax, they open up, they tell you all sorts of things. They tell you things that you couldn't imagine they would tell to a perfect stranger.In a lot of my work as a trainer and a consultant, things don't go quite so smoothly. I've become fascinated with the whole business of conversations and how they can go wrong. So many of the people who come to me asking for help with training, or consultancy are really just trying to avoid difficult conversations. They don't want to have the conversations that they need to have with their bosses, with their clients, with their colleagues. And it's hardly surprising that they don't want to have those conversations because they've been burned in the past. Those kinds of conversations have gone very badly for them in the past and what kind of fool puts his or her hand in the fire for a second time?
What I'm trying to do with the new course that I'm putting together is to give people the skills they need to have difficult conversations so that they can broach awkward and difficult subjects with confidence. And a lot of the answers are to do with listening and understanding the others point of view.