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The 7 Components of a Constructive Conversation

Listening

Listening is not hearing to respond. It’s hearing to understand. Effective listening helps you understand the other’s perspective and underlying feelings. It helps you hear what’s not said.

The ideal balance is to listen 60 percent and speak 40 percent of the time.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

The 7 Components of a Constructive Conversation

The 7 Components of a Constructive Conversation

https://medium.com/the-ascent/the-7-components-of-a-constructive-conversation-f3598072a5b6

medium.com

9

Key Ideas

A constructive conversation

It transfers ideas from one mind to another and removes all obstacles from the way. Such a conversation feels as relaxing as a Sunday afternoon in your pajamas.

"Conversational competence is the single most overlooked skill we fail to teach. Kids spend hours each day engaging with ideas and each other through screens, but rarely do they have an opportunity to hone their interpersonal communications skills…… Is there any 21st-century skill more important than being able to sustain coherent, confident conversation?"

"Conversational competence is the single most overlooked skill we fail to teach. Kids spend hours each day engaging with ideas and each other through screens, but rarely do they have an opportunity to hone their interpersonal communications skills…… Is there any 21st-century skill more important than being able to sustain coherent, confident conversation?"

Listening

Listening is not hearing to respond. It’s hearing to understand. Effective listening helps you understand the other’s perspective and underlying feelings. It helps you hear what’s not said.

The ideal balance is to listen 60 percent and speak 40 percent of the time.

Empathy

It means you understand your counterpart’s feelings and hear what’s behind them.

Labeling Emotions

You don’t have to feel your counterpart’s emotions to understand them better. You can label them. It means validating and acknowledging them.

The most effective labels of emotions start with phrases like:

  • It seems like… you feel ...
  • It sounds like… you feel ...
  • It looks like… you’re worried that ...

Summarizing

It means describing the world the way your counterpart sees it in your words.

An accurate summary makes your counterpart say “that’s right” instead of “you’re right.” “That’s right” means your counterpart feels heard AND understood.

Brevity

Excessive communication ends conversations before they begin.

Fewer words create a deeper impact. They let your counterpart absorb your words and think over them. And silence is also an important part of brevity.

Building Mutual Ground

Constructive conversations are held on mutual ground, where the speaker uses analogies relevant to the listener to explain how things work from a broader perspective.

Genuineness

We tend to trust people whose emotions are authentic, whose actions are in sync with their words.

Genuineness comes when you care about your counterpart and want the outcome to benefit everyone involved. 

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Listening requires mental work
We mistake listening as easy because it looks passive and instinctive, but in reality it’s hard work. Really listening (and not just appearing to listen) re...
Mistakes we make in conversations
Our general tendency is to:
  • Evaluate: We judge what someone is saying and agree or disagree.
  • Probe: We ask questions from our own frame of reference.
  • Advise: We give counsel, advice, and solutions to problems.
  • Interpret: We analyze others' motives and behaviors based on our own experiences.
What makes a great listener
  • Asking great questions;
  • Playing attention to the nonverbal communication;
  • Forgoing taking detailed notes to pay better attention;
  • Listening with the intent to understand, not the intent to respond;
  • Making people feel heard;
  • Following up on what matters.
Emotions During a Difficult Conversation

It’s hard not to get worked up emotionally when you’re in a tense conversation: a disagreement can feel like a threat.

But if your body goes into “fight or flight” mode,  ...

Breathe

When you start noticing yourself getting tense, try to focus on breathing (on feeling the air coming in and out of your lungs).

This will take your attention off the physical signs of panic and keep you centered.

Focus on your body

Sitting still when you’re having a difficult conversation can make the emotions build up rather than dissipate. 

Standing up and walking around helps to activate the thinking part of your brain.

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Stressful Conversations
Stressful Conversations

Human beings love to gossip, chatter and jest, but some conversations can be stressful, confusing, and even embarrassing. To avoid conflicts and the avoidable pain it can bring, we tend to dodge a ...

The Three Basic Stress-Inducing Conversations
  • While giving bad news to others, like giving feedback or firing someone, one can find it difficult to strike the right note.
  • When a small sentence or even a word can be taken as a negative provocation and trigger an adverse reaction. Suddenly the conversation becomes intensely charged emotionally.
  • A conversation where one resorts to profanity, manipulation, shouting to thwart the other person.
Preparing For A Stressful Conversation
  1. Be fully aware of one’s own vulnerabilities and shortcomings.
  2. Anticipate any specific problem that may occur, and try to rehearse it if possible.
  3. Understand that words are key that can make or break your conversation, and try to fine-tune and neutralize your phrasing.

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Be the last to speak

This way, you'll be able to hear your team’s true thoughts, which you can to use to inform the opinion you yourself deliver at the end of the conversation.

As a leader, if you speak f...

Shut down outside distractions

A key part of being a good listener is showing the speaker that he or she has your undivided attention. Close your laptop and put away your phone.

This gives those speakers the confidence to express themselves fully without feeling that they’re imposing on your time.

Mind your body language

7 percent of a message is conveyed through words. Body language plays a major role in how we communicate and how we listen.

When you’re listening, then, be aware of what your body language is saying to the speaker. Unfold your arms and be open to what this person has to say.

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Using too much jargon

When you constantly take over normal words and use them in odd ways to make them sound "businessy", people will most likely roll their eyes.

Stick to using words as they're defined ...

Clichés

Unoriginal expressions used so frequently that they've actually lost meaning like  "out-of-the-box thinking" could reveal a lack of respect for the listener.

Avoid metaphors completely or use original ones. If that's too hard, tweak the wording of clichés to make them less cliché-ish.

Prolixity

Using big, impressive sounding words rather than smaller, common ones can leave listeners with the impression that you're pompous and pretentious.

The fix, in this case, is a big dose of humility. 

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Listen to Learn, Not to Be Polite

Listen from a place of curiosity, not generosity. True dialogue does not happen when we pretend to listen, and it certainly cannot happen if we are not listening at all.

If you ev...

Quiet Your Agenda

Really listen to what someone else is trying to say.

We need information that is disconfirming, not confirming.

Ask More Questions

Ask more questions than you give answers.

When you ask questions, you create a safe space for other people to give you an unvarnished truth.

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Communication needs improvement if:
  • You are having trouble getting through to your spouse; you talk about the same issue over and over again without coming to an agreement.
  • You seem unable to have a decent conversation...
Just Communicate

It is difficult to discuss some sensitive subjects, and we are tempted to avoid them. Other times we simply expect our partners to know what we are doing, thinking or what we want.

It is much better to get things out in the open regularly rather than waiting to have big rows that might damage your relationship.

Listen actively

Be curious about your partner’s point of view rather than trying to anticipate every situation. Active listening involves:

  • Paying attention to your partner.
  • Tolerating your silence.
  • Paying attention to your partner’s nonverbal communication.
  • Reflecting and paraphrasing what your partner is saying: I hear you say you feel angry when I ….. Is that what you are saying?

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Effective communication

... is imperative for every successful business. Poor communication inevitably causes misunderstandings, confusion and conflicts that hinder productivity and professi...

Effective Communication is vital in business
  • It helps to create effective brand messaging.  It determines how your brand is perceived and also builds trust with customers.
  • Customer service relies on good communication. "60% of consumers have stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer service experience."  Microsoft’s 2016 Global State of Customer Service Report.
  • It enables positive team relationships.  Effective communication helps to unite teams and create a safe environment to express themselves.
  • It helps to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts. It can help to defuse a potentially explosive dispute while bad communication can set it off.

Worst Communication Mistakes
  1. Using a One-Size-Fits-All Communication Approach. Tailor the communication style to the intended audience.
  2. Speaking More and Listening Less. Listen to what is said, how it is said, and to what is not said.
  3. Assuming Instead of Asking More Questions.
  4. Using Negative Tone. Choose words carefully to eliminate negative reactions.
  5. Avoiding Difficult Conversations.

  6. Reacting, Not Responding.

  7. Not Keeping an Open Mind. Accept and respect differences, listen without judgment and consider all sides of an issue.

Small talk

It’s a brief conversation between you and someone you don’t know very well. 

Small talk is an essential stage of a casual conversation, especially in English-speaking cultures.

How to get better at small talk
  • Have a genuine interest in getting to know a person you’re talking to and learn from them.
  • Ask open-ended questions. It encourages the other person you're speaking with to open up.“What do you do?” followed by “Why did you choose that type of work? How did you enter that profession?”
  • Never talk about something too personal.
  • Practice active listening. By paying attention to the speaker’s words, you’ll create much stronger connections.