How To Have Real Conversations

Knowing how to have real conversations has value beyond the corporate world. While knowing how to have real conversations as a leader is important, you also need to know how to bring this skill to your everyday life. Without the ability to carry on conversations, your world will be a much smaller place.

Man and woman sitting, having a conversation

Photo by Mael Balland

The problem is most people don’t know how to carry on a conversation well. They’ll bring up small talk like the weather or what they do for a living (the boring jist of it).

Small talk can derail conversations real quick.

People use small talk to get the conversation going. Too often, people will get stuck in the small talk and not branch out to more important matters.

If you can get conversations down, you will go far. In leadership… and in life.

It’s Time To Have That Hard Conversation

We put them off. We hold back when we have them. We pass the buck to someone else to be the one to deliver them.

What are these things? It’s the hard conversations we know we MUST have but are unwilling to have.

Why Hard Conversations Suck

We put off hard conversations because, well, they’re hard. Bringing faults or poor performance to someone you are leading hurts.

The conversations bring up hard feelings and bad business. We’re even possibly laying out reasons for someone to be removed from their position in this talks.

It’s not fun.

We’re dealing with people. People who have emotions. People who have families to provide for. People who have desires to do good work.

And our conversations are telling them something is wrong.

This is why the hard conversations suck…

Make An Opportunity To Meet Someone New

Pam and I recently took a walk along the Muskegon Channel. The plan was to spend a few minutes walking and feeding the mallard ducks that inhabited the channel.

We fed the ducks and a swan. Afterwards, we walked towards the end of the pier and turned around.

As we made our way back to our vehicle, there was an opportunity to meet someone new.

Meeting people isn't scary

Meeting someone new doesn’t have to be this scary / Image by GViciano

He was a fisherman. Throwing his fishing line into the water, trying to catch walleye. He also had a name, Al, and a story to tell.

Passing him by, I decided to throw out the question you ask fishermen, “Have you caught anything today?”

This simple question led us to learn about the life of Al, and that of his father’s. We met someone new and we learned quite a bit.