How to start a tough conversation at work
When your new baby is born (or, in this case, your book is released) it’s gratifying when others see its beauty. Sharlyn Lauby posted a very well-written review of Diane Windingland and my Perfect Phrases for Icebreakers.
What I particularly liked was the objections she overcame as she read the phrases, and how she went to skeptical – “Really?! A book of phrases?! Is this necessary?!” – to supportive. Here is a passage from her review.
“If you know someone who is looking for suggestions in the best way to start a conversation, this book could be valuable. Using my example of the manager trying to start a tough conversation, the book offers a few tips:
1. I’d like to ask your permission to raise a sensitive subject.
2. I have some things to say that I imagine will be hard to hear. I think it’s important you know, and that’s why I want to have this conversation.
3. I wish I had better news to share. I’ll tell you straight out, answer your questions, and explore next steps with you.
Each of us has moments when we’re looking for a better way to say something. This book can help.”
I resisted the idea of a book of icebreakers at first myself. But eventually I realized how important they are. If you want to talk about things that matter, what foot you get off on initially makes all the difference.
By the way, the book isn’t just about starting difficult conversations. It also has ways to strike up conversatons with people you just met, how to get meeings off on the right foot, and a plethora of fun icebreaker games for groups. They’re fun – and purposeful.