Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Communicating and invincibility

So I read a bunch of books about corporate communication (although, they really apply to communication in any situation/context). And then, you know that Hyperbole and a Half post about depression where she comes out of the depression by no longer giving a f*** about anything and deciding she was invincible? 
I've always wanted to not give a fuck. While crying helplessly into my pillow for no good reason, I would often fantasize that maybe someday I could be one of those stoic badasses whose emotions are mostly comprised of rock music and not being afraid of things. And finally - finally - after a lifetime of feelings and anxiety and more feelings, I didn't have any feelings left. I had spent my last feeling being disappointed that I couldn't rent Jumanji. (you really have to read the whole thing)
via Allie Brosh Hyperbole and a Half
These two things are related because I originally read these communications books because I was sort of frustrated by some things and I thought these books would help. But then things got so frustrating that I got to that place where I was like Allie in Hyperbole and Half. I had my own personal Jumanji moment and I was like, that is it. I’ve gone over the edge. I’ve run out of f***s to give. And suddenly I felt nothing, and I was like, “Judge me all you want, stupid face, I have no feelings left...maybe I’ll go touch a spider later.”
Soooo, in an effort to reign myself in, I’m re-reading the books. And blogging about them, which really helps me more than anyone. Because I’m not doing myself any favors thinking I’m invincible. Especially with new research out that women are WAY more likely to get tone policed in their evaluations than men and criticized for perceived personality flaws rather than for failure to exhibit or develop certain skills.
Crucial Conversations

  1. Start by asking yourself what you really want out of this conversation. Is it realistic and necessary? You can tell it is necessary because it would eat away at you otherwise. And asking yourself a question can put yourself in a more logical less fight/flight part of your brain, which can help reign your that crazy zero f***s left to give place.
  2. Start by looking for common ground. There is always plenty of it, no matter how far apart you may feel from someone else. Helpful hint: if you are nit picking someone’s point, quibbling over details, or making a big deal over tiny flaws, then you aren’t looking for common ground.
  3. Ask permission. Before you start the story, before you pursue the argument.  This shows respect to the other person and where they are (emotionally and in their day).
  4. Be curious, and open to being influenced by their story, ideas, etc.
  5. Show that you are listening and communicate respectfully:
  • Agree: let them know where you have points of agreement 
  • Build: where you have information that has been left out, build on their story
  • Compare: “I think I see things differently here"
  • Ask: express an interest in their views
  • Mirror: acknowledge their emotions
  • Paraphrase: restate their important points, but not verbatim, because that sounds patronizing
  • Prime: if they seem reticent, then make a guess (CAREFULLY) at their views to get them talking
Some example statements include the following:
  • I think it is important to deal with this before it gets out of hand
  • I’d like to talk about something that is getting in the way of my working with you, it is a touch issue to bring up, but I think it’ll make us better teammates if I do. Is that okay?

Crucial Confrontation

Now it is called Crucial Accountability. I got the cheapest one I could, because I’m cheap. You know they are exactly the same anyway. Speaking of exactly the same, this book covers almost all the stuff in Crucial Conversations but with extra stuff; so if you’re only gonna get one book, get this one. (btw, there is more to this book than this stuff, and I’ll probably get to it in another post because Lord knows this one is already too long.)

  • The first few seconds of a conversation set in place the ground work for the overall outcome. 
  • It is very important than in this time you communicate that this conversation will be safe for the other person (you respect them, their view). 
  • Most communication is non-verbal: facial expression, body language, tone,
  1. Ask for permission to discuss a delicate topic
  2. Speak in private
  3. Contrast (I don’t think you {anticipate their worst assumption about what you are saying/will say}. In fact, I think {something complimentary that illustrates the opposite}.)
  4. Establish a mutual purpose. Show how much you have in common, in terms of what you both want out of this situation.
  5. State the issue. What is the gap between what your expectations were, or what was appropriate, and what happened. This should be succinct, objective/fact-based, and respectful. 
  6. Be curious. I’m beginning to wonder if x? (leave room open to be wrong. You’re not outright accusing them of being incompetent, or whatever you’re pretty sure that they are.)
  7. End with a question. “Do I have this right? Am I missing something?”
Some example statements include the following:

  • I don’t want you to think I’m unhappy with your management of this department. Overall I’m very satisfied. I just want to talk about how we handle X. 
  • I’m not saying it was wrong for you to say X. It is important for me to get feedback from you. It is just that I heard your tone and words as demeaning. 
  • I didn’t mean to imply that you were doing it on purpose. I believe you were unaware of the impact you were having. That’s why I wanted to bring it up in the first place. 
  • I’m not saying you have to treat me in any special way. All I’m asking for is that you treat me in a way that communicates respect and doesn’t sound like you think I’m incompetent.


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