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Reflections

Notes, thoughts, ideas, and reflections on communication, facilitation, hosting, and gathering.

How can you foster a culture of communication in your organisation?

Like so many things, fostering a culture of communication has to start at the top. If leaders really want to have a two-way dialogue, they need to have an open-door policy, make time to listen, be open to new ideas, and not only act on good ideas, but acknowledge where those ideas came from.

This encourages conversation in all directions.

Of course, the same needs to happen when communicating downwards, and it’s vital that downward communication is clear, consistent, honest and transparent.

Modelling the culture you want to create will help your teams adjust behaviour and build the culture you want, which in turn will attract like-minded employees in the future, too.

How can you make sure that everyone contributes in a meeting?

If you have a meeting, hearing the voices of all attendees could be a game-changer. Of course, it depends on the meeting: if you’re delivering a state-of-the-nation talk to the company, perhaps you’re more interest in cascading information down rather than getting input.

If, however, you have selected a number of people to attend a meeting to make a decision, generate ideas, move forward with plans, or start planning something brand new, you need to make sure that everyone can and does contribute. Why? Phew! Buy-in, good ideas, commitment, avoiding sabotage, relationship-building, and so much more.

But how?

One way is plan the meeting to make sure that you are crystal clear on the purpose. From there, you can ensure that you have the right people in the room. And when you have them in the room—virtual or otherwise—you can start the meeting by explaining why each person has been invited, why their contribution is important, and stating that you would like to hear everyone’s voice.

Simple, but effective. If you set the scene well, you have a better chance of success.

How can you diffuse drama in your team?

The Karpman Drama Triangle defines the roles that people take on (and can switch between) in stressful, emotional or high-conflict situations. Dr Stephen Karpman identified three main roles that emerge: the persecutor, the victim and the rescuer.

We can often find ourselves drawn to a particular role. However, the reality is that we move around the three roles. Different circumstances—people, context, emotions, environment, topic—pull us towards one particular pattern of behaviour or another.

Becoming aware of our roles in the drama triangle can help us shift from one role to another, and even better, to a completely new role, like those defined by David Emerald Womeldorff: from victim to survivor/thriver/creator; from rescuer to coach; and from persecutor to challenger.

This awareness and shift can transform teams, foster better relationships, and make (almost) anything possible.

#ddt #dramatriangle #ted #theempowermentdynamic #drama #teams #communication #facilitation

What if there was a process for soliciting honest, neutral input for your ideas?

You’re a creator. Perhaps you’re creating a new strategy, a product, a play, a novel, a team, or something completely different.

You’re part-way through. You think you’re on the right track. And you have decided that you want to share your idea and get feedback and input that will not only help you move your ideas forward, but that will energise you and perhaps even make your creation even better than it would otherwise be.

The way to do this is by asking for feedback, but asking for feedback is hard. The people involved, the context, the environment, how you and others are feeling: this can all make feedback a process of becoming defensive, instead of a process of learning.

What if there was a process to make giving and receiving feedback easier? There is! Let me facilitate a Critical Response Session for you and help you expand your knowledge and get useful feedback that is honest, direct, and offered with sincerity.

What if there was a process for giving kind but honest feedback?

The good news is that there are loads of interesting models, but which model you choose to use depends on what you are trying to achieve.

If you want to give feedback on work-in-progress—a creation of some sort—you might want to take a look at Liz Lerman’s deceptively simple Critical Response Process or CRP.

This allows you to understand get a wider perspective about an individual’s thoughts, motivations, and creation(s) so that you can offer feedback that is honest, direct, and both motivating and helpful. Importantly, the feedback doesn’t slip into being cruel or unkind, thanks to the process.

What if it was possible to have productive, conflict-free conversations?

Conversations are life’s “grease”. Good conversation make things go smoother – work, relationships, buying something at the store, understanding a complex idea, and more. The challenge is that so many conversations become charged and filled with conflict below the surface.

Why? And how do you diffuse this? There are lots of reasons for conflict and many ways things to look out for in a conversation. Today we’re looking at language: how you say it.

A good idea is to keep things neutral: avoid saying things like “the way you did this didn’t work” because that makes people defensive and as soon as we’re defensive, we stop learning. Instead, try something like “the way the job was done didn’t work as expected” and you’ll find that you’ve removed one obstacle.

Lovely!

Reframing can change hearts, minds, and souls – er, soles?

As a fish hugger (compare with tree hugger), I am always baffled at how people describe sea creatures as ugly. Who do we think we are that we can make value judgements about these extraordinary living neighbours of ours?

Perhaps they’d rather be judged “ugly and inedible” by the folks in the UK, than re-branded as Cornish soles and now highly desirable.

Fascinating what a bit of re-naming and re-framing can do. And if all it takes for people to eat “ugly fish” is some tweaked communication, just imagine what tweaking your communication could do for your professional and social relationships!

Read the article over at The Guardian.

A workshop on navigating websites

Thanks to the rather wonderful Rasheed Ogunlaru, I’ve been asked by the British Library if I’d like to run some 90-minute sessions to help people think about what they need to think about when they are thinking about websites…

Too many instances of the word “think”? Well, you’ll work it out. Some folks will say, “But what do websites have to do with communication.” My response? Everything, if you want to reach a larger audience, online. Having spent a big part of my life working with creative communication, I know only too well how a great website can help to get a message across, and how a rubbish site can scupper even the most brilliant of entrepreneurs.

So! If you’re pondering the joys and mysteries of getting online, this friendly information-session might be of use. And it’s a “pay it forward” event, designed to help you learn and for you to help others get fed, all at the same time. It’s all good!

Details & registration here →