Updated: Feb 18, 2020
I Have to Talk "Them"
As a coach and consultant, I've had some straightforward, direct, and tough conversations with clients about their businesses and their lives.
By nature, we tend to shy away from tough conversations and seek to take an easier path. I sometimes struggle with these types of conversations. I don't know if it is my gentlemanly Southern upbringing, or the desire not to offend. But, it can be a personal struggle.
It becomes more comfortable to use straight talk (a.k.a. candor) when you set expectations with the other person upfront. I often tell clients and those who work with me that I want to hear their candid feedback. It's a sincere request. I also tell them the feedback will not be considered as personal unless they tell me I am short and overweight. Then all bets are off!
It's not that I need constant feedback. It's about keeping an open line of communication with a clear understanding. Candid feedback is my measure for answering, "am I effective in what I do and can I improve." It's also my way to make sure they know they have a mechanism to share their thoughts and that he/she is being heard.
Straight talk from you to those you work with or with your client is equally important. Remember, they are exactly the same as you. They seek feedback and also want to make sure they're being heard.
What's The Goal of Straight Talk
The reason straight talk is so important is actually pretty simple. We need to hear the truth. We may not like it at the very moment we hear it. But, in the end, the truth will set us free.
When you share the "truth" with someone, you always have to remember that it's your truth, and it may not resonate or match their truth. The same may happen when someone else tells you their truth about you. You may hear them with an open mind .. or you may think to yourself they are full of sh*t.
The art is always in the delivery.
If the art is in the delivery, what do you do? It's already uncomfortable. Already against your nature.
You set the tone for the conversation. Here are a few preparation tips to consider from People First:
Have clarity of purpose.Identify emotional triggers.
Check your assumptions.Focus on positive outcomes.
Consider the other perspective.
Organize your thoughts and back up your key points with specifics and examples.
Plan for "We" and "I" (not "You") statements.
Take the time to frame the conversation in your mind and on paper. Write a few notes to use during the process. I find that having notes handy prevents me from forgetting important points and from getting frustrated. My notes also show the other individual that I've given this some thought.
Start your conversation with a phrase I learned from an old friend and master sales trainer - Mr. Bill Caskey. "The intent for our conversation today is.." Using the word "intent" allows you to quickly frame the topic, the content, and what the outcome will be. (Thanks @BillCaskey)
Conclude straight talk with action. Like all great action takers be sure you define three things:
What are we doing
Who is doing it
When is it to be done
If the straight talk focuses on improving your sales pitch, get specific. Define improving. Take it apart. Don't let generalities get by you. When you are not specific about the meaning of the word, you are doomed to fail.
If the straight talk focuses on creating a better marketing funnel, get specific. A better way of eating, get specific. I think you get my point. Get specific, and don't let yourself or the other person off the hook.
How do you get to Carnegie Hall
If you aren't practicing, you're not progressing. Like any great skill, you have to do it over and over. Sometimes you're going to screw it up. Get over it and try again.
Take the time to learn about straight talk. You'll find some excellent resources out there on the web. Grab your favorite search engine and go looking for "radical candor."
Just remember, reading about or watching videos does not a master make.
There is no try. Only do.
For more information or to schedule a chat about your challenges with straight talk, visit my website, or drop me an email. You can find me at www.dolandwhite.com or firstname.lastname@example.org