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Mastering the Art of Critical Conversations

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Mastering the Art of Critical Conversations

Relationship building in action.

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Effective Communications are critical to the success of any team, organization or company.  While authentic and consistent communications permit collaboration from top executives to non-managers, weak, unreliable and contradictory communications erode the foundations of trust and clarity which enable needed productivity.  This course describes the art of conducting critical conversations to ensure the intended messages remain true and the effort provides the desired value.

Darian Bebout in the classroom

Whether they are face to face or purely virtual, the worth of any given communication can span from meaningful to disastrous in a flash.  the consequences of a failed communication may not be understood until long past the end of the conversation.  Compounded with today’s plethora of digital communication tolls, ensuring the best communication methods are used is challenging.  An understanding of the various conversation types, how messages should be transmitted, how they may be received, and why they are so critical is imperative to every successful leader.

  • Sphere of influence obtainable with the right conversations
  • Spectrum of values realized through all conversations
  • Long-term impacts achievable from consistent conversations
  • Challenges presented with every conversation
  • Art required for the best conversations

Types of Critical conversations

  • Upward
  • Sideways
  • Downward
  • Book Review: John Maxwell’s “The 360 Degree Leader”


Conversation Settings

  • One on One
  • Groups
  • Virtual
  • Private or confidential meetings
  • Broadcasts
  • Class Discussion: “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”


Conversation Goals

  • Clear expectations
  • Simplification / Brevity
  • Reality checks
  • Empathy
  • Consensus
  • Exercise: “How can that be misunderstood?”


Conversation Challenges

  • Getting everyone to the same goal
  • Perceptions and perspectives
  • Content, others, and me
  • Relationships matter
  • Data overload and Polarization
  • Stressful working conditions
  • Exercise: “The Gift”


Keys to Effective Conversations

  • Timing is everything
  • Proactive listening
  • Servant leadership
  • Growth, development and learning
  • creating safe work environments

Managers, Supervisors, Leads, Department heads, and Project Leads of all levels who want to increase their ability to lead effective and productive teams, and clearly articulate their ideas to executives, peers and team members.

Let’s explore the possibilities of having this program at your facility.  paula.seiwert@wichita.edu

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