Theodore Zeldin said “Conversations can change the way you see the world and can even change the world.”
So I ask you this: What are you talking about … and are your conversations focused on the transaction or interaction?
And how does one turn the tide from a transactional conversation to an interactive conversation?
It’s all about the level of participation in that conversation.
How are you participating in the conversation? How are you listening? Are you an active participant as a listener? Or are you thinking about what to say next or envisioning the other person with a Big “L” on their forehead…. “Loser…” “How many times have we heard this before?” “Here she goes again…”
Good managers and leaders understand that conversations require participation. It’s more than “just the facts.” They understand that when they speak to colleagues, employees, customers or suppliers, they are conveying multiple messages:
- The content of the message: Is it clear and consistent with the organization’s policies and practices?
- The delivery of the message: Is the delivery consistent with the organization’s core values, such as “respect,” or “integrity” or “good communication”
- The quality of interaction: Are you really listening? Is it participative?
If you’re looking for improved employee engagement or increased customer retention, an easy and cost effective place to start is by examining your conversations.
Are you talking about things that are relevant and important to the other person?
Chatting about the weather or the latest sports scores are ok, but unless you’re a meteorologist or sports broadcaster or sports coach, you’ll get more mileage with an interaction that is focused on the person, their work or their purchase.
Authentic interaction is heartfelt, not sappy. It comes from a place of caring and wanting to be of service or making a difference. It’s about leaving the other person feeling glad they had the interaction with you. Even difficult conversations can be authentic, caring and leave a person feeling respected.
How do you start?
It starts with one conversation at a time.
Start by really listening to the conversations that you’re having with people.
Are you approaching it like a transaction or an opportunity for authentic interaction?
Do you care enough about yourself, your organization and the people with whom you converse to choose to have authentic interactions?
If not, just know that you may be missing out on opportunities to make a difference in someone else’s life or closed to the possibility that someone might make a difference in your life.
It’s just a choice. And you can choose to change it with your next conversation.
Marty Stanley is a national speaker and consultant on organizational change. If you’re tired of negative and toxic conversations at your workplace and want more teamwork and customer satisfaction, call Marty today for a complimentary 20 minute conversation on how to shift that culture. 816-695-5453