What makes a great conversation?
A question that I get asked all the time is what makes a great conversation? The answer can be different for everyone and it changes for different types of conversation. However, there are certain elements that should always be present to make a conversation great. When used in varying combinations they will always improve the quality, and therefore the outcome, of a conversation. You can ask yourself questions about the conversation to make sure that you’re ticking all the boxes. So here are six questions you should be asking yourself about your conversations:
Are they focussed on the positive?
In any situation, there are two ways a looking at it, the positive way or the negative way. We can talk about someone’s strengths and weaknesses. About the carrot and stick approaches to management. Work on the opportunities or the problems in a situation. Unfortunately, it is too easy for us to focus on the negative side of things, to get stuck in the mire of the negative side of conversations. Now I’m not saying that you don’t acknowledge the negative aspects, that you blind yourself to problems. If you keep your focus on the positive and help others to do so too, not only will you have a great conversation you achieve more too.
Are they meaningful?
If we want to engage with other people we have to talk about things that are meaningful to them. We also have to talk to them in a way that is meaningful to them. We also respond better to other people when we are spoken in a way that is meaningful to us when we are spoken to about things that are meaningful to us. The absolute best conversations happen when both parties are conversing in a way that is meaningful to each of them about things that are meaningful to both of them. So when you’re planning on having conversations with other people think about what would make it meaningful to them whilst at the same time keep it meaningful for you. It’s about understanding the why in your business and in the other persons too.
Do you have the right intention?
One of the biggest problems we have with conversations is that we often don’t have a clue about what we want to get out of the conversation in the first place. Or we have such a rigid view of what we want that we are not open to the opportunities that might be available. We finally get that meeting with a new prospect and we are so fixed on getting the quick sale that we miss the bigger opportunity. I wrote a post a little while ago about having the right conversation that goes into this in a bit more detail. When we have conversations in our business we need to get it sorted in our head what our intentions are. We need to have an intention that is beneficial for both sides of the conversation.
Is it personal?
One of the big changes that are happening in the business world at the moment is the blurring of business and personal lives. Through social media we are becoming more connected with the people we are doing business with. Whether it is our employees, our customers, our suppliers or anyone else we come in contact with, we can be closer to their lives than ever before. We can often find this difficult, though, we connect with people on Facebook but post less about our lives. We bring each other closer whilst at the same time making sure we keep people at arms-length. If understanding the why helps us tap into the meaningful then understanding the who helps us to keep it personal. If you ever hear yourself saying that it’s just business it’s not personal then you’re getting the conversation wrong.
Are you collaborating?
Collaboration has become one of the current business buzzwords and it gets used too often. So often that it can end up feeling a bit twee or insincere. Collaboration is actually about two people coming together and achieving something that neither could achieve alone. It takes the knowledge, abilities, passions and efforts of two groups and creates something that that is greater than the sum of their individual’s efforts. When conversations are collaborative they have a multiplying effect on our efforts. They allow us to co-create something exceptional.
Are you being honest?
Finally, great conversations are about being honest. Honest with yourself and honest with the other person. I grew up as a blagger, I could bluff my way through most situations. If I wasn’t sure of an answer I could blag my way out. If I hadn’t done something I could blag my way out of that too. For many of us, blagging can become a way of life and we can learn to be successful at it. The thing is whilst blagging can be successful it’s not as powerful as being honest. Honesty is the best why to have great conversation and to build the best long term relationships that most of us are trying to achieve in business.
If you want to have a great business then you need to have great conversations and to have great conversations you have to think about the above. If you would like to talk about how you can make your conversations great then click here to have a free, no commitment conversation.