Tools for Courageous Conversations As we enter this new year, I can’t help but think about the changes that I wish to see in 2021. One of the most pressing issues that our nation currently faces is racial injustice. In May 2020, the world watched people take to the streets across the United States with outrage caused by the horrific killing of a black man, George Floyd. Unfortunately, George Floyd’s story is not the first time we’ve seen acts of extreme racial injustice in our country, however, his story has brought light to the long-standing structural issue of racism that can no longer be ignored. The Biden administration has made it clear that tackling racial injustice is one of its top priorities, and as community members, we all share a responsibility in creating a better, more just world for everyone. Learning how to have conversations about white privilege, white supremacy, racism and racial injustice is the first step in resolving these deep rooted issues. This seems like a simple first step, but in reality, addressing difficult topics is never easy. So, how do we have these types of conversations? Where do we begin? To better understand how to have difficult conversations, Vista Global will be launching a mini-series of podcast episodes that highlight the important role that Conversational Intelligence (C-IQ) plays in engaging in hard conversation. To kick off this series, we have created a toolkit for tips on getting started. Tools for Courageous Conversations Recently, I completed certification as a Conversational Intelligence coach. When starting your courageous conversation, it’s helpful to have the right tools on hand that assist with making the connection between neuroscience and the quality and effectiveness of our conversations. 1. Know Yourself In order to empathize with someone else, you need to be in tune with yourself. Look to understand your personal triggers—in other words, the comments or questions that send your brain to a place of protection or defensiveness. When we become defensive, we obstruct our ability to have a productive conversation. Take a moment to reflect on a recent high-stress conversation. What did you experience physically, emotionally, and mentally? Learning from our worst conversations helps us avoid those traps in the future. 2. Make Trust Your Goal The level of trust in a relationship has the single greatest impact on the quality of a conversation. Every interaction, big or small, is an opportunity to build trust with others, even if you don’t think you see eye to eye. 3. Recognize Assumptions When things go off track in a conversation, it’s often because there is a gap between intention and impact. Our intention is what we hope our words communicate, and the impact is what the receiver understands. The gap between intention and impact is a conversational “reality gap.” The easiest way to recover is to use a tool called “Double-Clicking.” Double-clicking means following up with additional questions to confirm that the listener understands your intention. We often assume that others understand what we mean, but this assumption can lead to friction and misunderstandings. Double-clicking helps close the gap between what the speaker means and what the listener hears. Each of these tools will help you engage in courageous conversations with compassion and confidence. Courage is needed in conversations in all areas of our lives. NOW is the time to take that step. Need help framing your next #CourageousConversation? Stay tuned for the podcast mini-series launching soon! Check out my blog series below on the full Conversational Intelligence toolkit, or get in touch for coaching on how to start your next courageous conversation. Blog Series Listening to Connect: The Neuroscience of Coaching and Conversational Intelligence What We Can Learn from Our Worst Conversations Creating the Environment: Moving from Distrust to Trust Avoid Assumptions To Navigate the Conversational Highway Asking Questions For Which You Have No Answers Build Your Conversation Agility: Align Your Intention With Your Impact Developing the “I Inside the We” Which Brain is Driving Your Conversation?