Last week I wrote a post about communication in business. This article is a follow up with more details and suggestions on the actual ‘chat’.
In preparation for an important or uncomfortable discussion, it is a good idea to set aside a time and place ahead of time and let the person or persons know what the discussion will be focused on. In setting the time, I would set a start and finish time in order to respect other people’s time. An example of the request may be:
“Ed, I would like to discuss with you the situation with Karen. Would you be available tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. for a half hour of uninterrupted time to discuss it? I want to explore the potential solutions. I can come to your office.”
If the meeting topic is emotionally charged, I suggest you start the meeting by acknowledging the emotions that exist in each participant. If you don’t address the emotions up front, they will override the decision making. However, after acknowledging the emotions, you can transition to a business-like discussion with a statement like:
“I recognized the emotions involved, but I suggest we approach this matter in a business-like way. Is everyone open to set aside the emotions and have a business-like discussion?”
The next step is to listen to the other person’s point of view or explanation. Listening takes practice. The objective is to remove your own filters or stories you may bring and put yourself into the other person’s shoes.
It is also important to recognize the other person may not have good clarity on their point of view. It is unreasonable to expect others to be so clear when we are often fuzzy ourselves. If you can repeat back what you think the other person said, you will confirm you truly understand.
Finally it’s the moment you have been waiting for! It is now your turn to share in a respectful and assertive manner what your point of view is and why you think the way you do.
People tend to communicate with tone and body language which is either ‘parent’, ‘child’ or ‘adult’. If you speak with the ‘parent’ tone while pointing your finger, you will trigger a ‘child’ like response from the other person. I have watched this happen many times when the speaker has no idea they are acting parent like. No wonder the other person is so childish!
The good news if you communicate in an ‘adult’ manner, you will obtain an adult-like response. It may seem like a lot of effort to resolve a single issue, but the reality is that it will not only resolve the issue, you will obtain a resolution that is best for everyone, including yourself!
For more information about Communication in Business, please visit my Squidoo Lens: http://www.squidoo.com/communication-help-for-small-business-owners