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.