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Mastering the Art of Essential Conversations

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Mastering the Art of Essential 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.

“Darian is very informative and great at telling own life experiences that have and have not worked for him. He explained that conversations will be different depending on what authority level you’re speaking to. I thoroughly enjoyed this class and all the knowledge I gained that I had never thought about”

Brogan Nichols, Mid-Continent Instruments & Avionics, Wichita, Kansas


“I have been to several Fred Pryor training seminars, but his was my first CMD training. I felt the quality of the content was exceptional and the delivery was received by everyone in the class.  Darian made us feel comfortable to open up and brainstorm some new communication techniques in our workplaces.  I was given valuable “tools” to navigate future critical conversations and everyday encounters.  The lunch was exceptional as well, and I appreciated the host. Thank you! Darian was receptive to feedback. I believe that an instructor willing to learn himself makes for the best teacher.  These are quality classes that engage the student throughout the entire class.”

Heather Dunning, Customer Service Coordinator, GRAINCRAFT, Wichita, Kansas


‘This course has given me a game plan and the tools necessary to have constructive, meaningful conversations. Darian was an amazing instructor and was clear and concise throughout the class.”

Brandon Hartzell, IT Specialist, KS Air National Guard, Wichita, Kansas

I was told that not every situation is solvable, and that really stuck with me.  Sometimes a better option is to weigh your options and leave the toxic environment.

I found that Darian’s worksheet about preparing for critical conversations was valuable because I hadn’t thought that preparing was as important as the conversation itself.

People desire and are owed honesty.

Make sure I am teaching through listening and valuing other employees’ opinions.

Substitutions are free and must be done prior to the start of the class or certificate program.

Cancellations or rescheduling must be received in writing and full refunds will be given up to four business days prior to the start of class.

Any cancellation or reschedule submitted with three or less business days notice is subject to a $35 charge on 1 or 2 day classes and a $75 charge on certificate programs.  

No refunds after the first day of the class or certificate program.

Let’s explore the possibilities of having this program at your facility. Contact me at   Paula.Seiwert@wichita.edu   

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