Courageous Conversations: 8 Tips to Help You Succeed

The following eight points regarding Courageous Conversations might help you understand key elements about the importance of having them. They can also be looked at as reasons why we need to step up and have courageous, heart-to-heart conversations with others.

1) Back it up with Research

CMOE’s methodology that comes from some of the most rigorous social science research ever conducted covers a 40-year span. The research explores why it is that we as bright, articulate, and caring humans have such a difficult time being effective in conversation when important issues are at stake.

2) Watch out for Traps

The research reveals that there are some very predictable traps that we as humans fall into when discussing challenging issues or topics with others. It is tied to the fight-or-flight response.

3)  Look at the Intention

Our desires are usually good, and, even with our best efforts, we unintentionally create conflict or misunderstanding with others when important issues need to be discussed.

4) Uncover the Feelings

It is not because we don’t care about the issues; it is because we DO and that creates these negative patterns resulting in ineffective conversations.

5) Observe the Patterns 

Research conducted at MIT reveals that none of us are immune. Regardless of our age, race, gender, or status in life, very predictable patterns emerge during important conversations that get in the way of being effective. Understanding what these patterns are and how to craft more effective and courageous conversations should be what life is all about.

6) Focus on the Main Issue 

The Courageous Conversations framework helps you remain focused on the issue or problem and not the personality or the person. It teaches you how to be direct and bold, but not overbearing. It teaches you how to be honest in a way that lets others be honest in return.

7) Embrace Discomfort

Mastering the Courageous Conversations framework will not make your difficult conversations necessarily more comfortable, because the emotional side of a conversation is real and sensitive. But it will make them more effective and can be mastered by both individuals and teams.

8) Move Forward with Respect

Fostering conditions that will enable people to act with high levels of candor, respect, and responsibility is critical as they engage in discussing difficult, complex issues.

It is understood that people learn best by doing, so if you can gain experience around these key skills and behaviors, and find an opportunity to practice them, you will find greater success in the outcome and results of your courageous conversations.

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CMOE Design Team

CMOE’s Design Team is comprised of individuals with diverse and complementary strengths, talents, education, and experience who have come together to bring a unique service to CMOE’s clients. Our team has a rich depth of knowledge, holding advanced degrees in areas such as business management, psychology, communication, human resource management, organizational development, and sociology.