Great relationship come from great conversations. Great conversations come by asking great questions. Having a great conversation with your boss can feel like a form of recognition and validation that you are doing a great job. Having a great conversation with family and friends can last a lifetime. But building stronger listening skills and asking powerful questions requires some exercise and attention.
“Fierce Conversations — Achieving Success at Work and in Life, One Conversation at a Time” by Susan Scott is a great primer on communications. If you are interested, you may find yourself reading the book with a yellow highlighter; it’s packed with practical suggestions. Scott gives the reader seven strategies:
1. Master the courage to face reality: We are all changing all the time, but sometimes forget to tell each other.
2. Make your conversations real: When the conversation is real, change occurs before the conversation is over.
3. Be here, prepared to be nowhere else: Speak and listen like it’s the most important conversation you will ever have with this person — it could be. Participate as if it matters.
4. Tackle your toughest challenges today: What you resist, persists.
5. Obey your instincts: Your radar works perfectly.
6. Take responsibility for your emotional wake: The conversation is the relationship.
7. Let silence do the heavy lifting: Memorable conversations include breathing spaces.