Eliminate the Barriers to Effective Communication - Discover the Successful Conversations Checklist

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Do you ever worry about having the difficult discussions, those crucial conversations that can have a negative impact on your life if not handled properly or if they don't go so well? There are ways you can reduce how tense people can feel at the beginning of these conversations.

Would you like to know how be more effective while having these conversations? If so, read on and discover how you can dramatically increase the likelihood that everyone will be happy with the outcome. Using the simple strategies offered here can help take away some of your anxiety and make your crucial conversations much more successful.

Many people lack effective communication skills. These skills are not the ones that are taught in school, and not everyone is able to learn these skills at home. Unfortunately, not knowing techniques for effective communication can prevent you from having those satisfying relationships you want in your life.

Planning For Successful Conversations

We figured it would make life a lot easier if there was a formula for having a more satisfying outcome when it came to these difficult conversations. So, we've developed the following checklist to help you have successful conversation and learn more effective negotiation skills.

Regardless of the situation, whenever you are faced with having a very important conversation, we promise it will go much more smoothly if you follow the tips in this checklist.

The Successful Conversations Checklist

___ Intention

Whether we are conscious of it or not, we all have intentions when it comes to having important conversations. It's difficult to disguise these intentions, and others are often able to sense them--even if they are unspoken. This can affect the foundation of your conversations.

Before beginning an important conversation, decide what your intention truly is. Create a clear understanding of what's important you, and try to determine what values are represented by your intention.

Before you begin the conversation, take a moment to remind yourself about your intention. This will help you stay focused on the true importance of the conversation and ultimately make the talk more satisfying for all parties.

___ Underlying Concerns

Think about any concerns you may hold about having the conversation. You may be worried that the other person is unwilling to have this discussion, or making things worse by bringing up these issues. It is important to really examine your own underlying concerns.

If your conversation is about conflict surrounding parenting styles, managing money, or decisions about where you will live, these can be difficult topics that need to be addressed honestly but carefully.

Many times, your fear can be interpreted as aggression or anger by the other person. When you begin the conversation by discussing your fears and underlying concerns, you can put the other person at ease by assuring they understand what your real concerns are. This can make the other person more willing to have these difficult discussions.

___ Get on the Same Page

At the very start of any important conversation, identify the underlying reason for the conversation. Outlining the specific outcomes you hope for can help keep the conversation on track and make it easier to resolve whatever issues you are addressing.

Speak about actual events, rather than hypothetical situations or generalizations This is essential for effective communication.

Both parties should always avoid judging the other person, name calling, or using negative labels to describe the other person.

___ Economy of Words

During any conversation, it is critical to use enough words to be clear, but not so many words that they blur the lines and complicates the issues. Try to stick to one subject, or one aspect of the situation at a time until you're able to get some resolution. Only then is it time to move on to the next item.

Offer the other person a sketch rather than an oil painting. Let them ask you for more details as they need them. Too much talking can result in getting off-track and may prevent anything from getting accomplished.

___ Intention Again

Somewhere early on in your conversation tell the other person the actual intention you identified by doing the item at the beginning of the checklist. This can help to clarify the issues and speed resolution.

Remind the other person about your intention anytime that the conversation isn't going the way you'd like or anyone starts feeling tense.

___ Get Their Point of View

Ask the other person what is important to them and what outcomes they hope for as a result of the discussion. Helping them to identify their own intentions will help make your conversation more effective and more successful.

Be sure to not push your own opinions into theirs, instead keep exploring what's important to them and tell you can truly identify their intentions.

___ Negotiation

Once the issues have been thoroughly discussed and you're confident you know each other's intention and desired outcomes, only then is it time to brainstorm ideas that will help you both find resolution in the situation.

Consider all points of view, and make sure that both parties have reached an agreement about solutions that won't give anyone feeling resentful later on.

___ Agreements

when you reach this point in the conversation, both parties need to decide who is prepared to take the specific actions needed to implement the strategies you have identified as solutions.

Both parties need to be satisfied with the conclusions you've reached, the actions that need to be taken, and that the overall strategy will in fact provide and satisfactory solution to the issues at hand.

Your agreements need to include a specific time frame about when the actions will be completed and who will complete them.

___ Accountability

Arrange a future time to follow up on the discussion. Make sure that you both check in to see how things are progressing.

Wait until there is a problem and you've waited too long. When you check in with each other, be sure to make any adjustments needed to keep your previous agreements on track.

Other Ways to Use the Conversation Checklist

At the end of any crucial conversation, make sure you take some time to reflect on how things went. If things went well, then relax and sit back, and celebrate your new communication skills.

If things did not go so well, then this is the perfect time to identify what went wrong and what could be changed next time to eliminate the remaining barriers to effective communication.

This is the perfect time to use this checklist for this review. Did you include each item on the lists in your conversation? Think about any points you may have missed, or those points that perhaps could have used some more attention.

effective communication skillsPlease understand, effective communication is as much art as it is science. Practice makes perfect, and everyone could stand to use a little more practice at improving their communication skills.

If you practice using the Successful Conversations Checklist before each of your crucial conversations, we guarantee you'll experience greater success in creating the results you want.

Understanding how to have satisfying conversations is only one part of having healthy relationships. If you are ready to address other areas of your relationship and discover even more tips for tackling difficult topics and developing healthy happy relationships in all areas of your life, subscribe to the thought-provoking and motivational Weekly Action Tips eMail series.

These practical tips and supportive advice will help you develop the healthy, happy relationships you want and deserve.

And for more great relationship tips, visit our blog:

Remember, the shortest path to a happy life is found through conscious choice.

Published by Beth Banning and Neill Gibson, founders of Focused Attention. Our mission is to provide very effective self help and personal development tools, and the skills to use them well. Our passion is to help you build a strong foundation for deeply satisfying relationships in all areas of your life.

Discover why over 80% of our clients say our courses are extremely effective for building self acceptance, self esteem, and self confidence. Learn how to reduce the stress of difficult conversations and problem situations, and accelerate your personal growth and ability to succeed at the same time.

For more information, to sign up for our eZine or enroll in our free thought-provoking and motivational Weekly Action Tips eMail series at:
phone: 858-736-9090

(c) 2006, Focused Attention, Inc.

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