Authentic Conversations at Work: What, Why, How

Authentic Conversations at Work stamp

What would happen if people had more authentic conversations at work? It’s a concept I will be exploring in greater depth in future posts. I’d love to hear your ideas and your challenges regarding authentic conversations. Here are my initial thoughts . . .

What are “Authentic Conversations”? Authentic conversations are conversations based on truth, understanding and respect, communicated in a genuine, “real” manner, with no pretense, posturing or politics.

Why are “Authentic Conversations” important? If people feel respected and that others want to understand them without judgment, they are more likely to open up and share the truth. Better decisions are made when the truth is known. Authentic conversations are an integral part of employee engagement as well (engaged employees have higher productivity and lower turn-over). Authentic conversations will foster commitment not merely compliance.

What problems do “Authentic Conversations” solve?

  • Turn dysfunctional teams/relationships into successful teams/relationships
  • Employee engagement: reduce turnover, increase productivity
  • Reduce loss of time and money (and possibly lives) wasted on decisions made with incomplete or untrue information.

6 Steps to “Authentic Conversations”

1. Know what you want, or at least what you think you want. It’s a starting point.

2. Address fundamentally important issues. Don’t side step the big stuff.

3. Commit to maintaining a respectful, caring, adult to adult, engaged connection in which you see your conversation partner as an ally not an adversary. It’s not “you vs. me.” It’s “we vs. the problem.”

4. Listen for understanding and not to judge (“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”). Use reflective listening (rephrasing, repeating, summarizing, asking clarifying questions). “Help me understand.”

5. Acknowledge feelings (yours and theirs). Empathize. But, try not to take things too personally.

6. Tell and seek the truth with positive intent. Be honest and transparent, without deception or manipulation. Honestly state your views (the truth as you know it) and the facts that support them. Tell the whole story, not holding back information on relevant issues. Acknowledge reality. Examine assumptions and biases which cloud the truth.

So, tell me the truth, what do you think about authentic conversations at work?

 

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About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

8 Responses to Authentic Conversations at Work: What, Why, How

  1. jamie says:

    Hi Diane – Don’t know if you are aware that I coauthored a book called Authentic Conversations, available on Amazon. It is about our work of 20+ years on the connection between org/community culture and conversations and the change work we have been doing as a org. development consulting practice. Glad to see others are picking up on the importance of Authentic Conversations in the workplace. Our next book is out on 5/6 called Yoga Wisdom at Work. Cheers! j

    • Jamie–Thanks for your comment and for telling me about your book. I have it on my Kindle reader now! Good luck with the new book!

      Diane Windingland Public Relations Officer, District 6 Toastmasters Toastmasters International Where Leaders are Made 612-306-4214 business websites: Small Talk Big Results Virtual Speech Coach

      Latest post: The ideal praise to criticism ratio at work: 5.6 to 1 http://ow.ly/j1fIL The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio Like · Comment · Share Small Talk, Big Results page on Facebook Like Get this email app! Want a signature like mine? Click here.

  2. Bruce says:

    Hi Diane – Interesting. May I share this article with my co-workers?

    • Bruce–Feel free to share! I’d love to know what resonated with you the most, causing you to want to share!

      Diane Windingland Public Relations Officer, District 6 Toastmasters Toastmasters International Where Leaders are Made 612-306-4214 business websites: Small Talk Big Results Virtual Speech Coach

      Latest post: It’s My Birthday and You Get a Gift–Free Kindle book on Public Speaking It’s My Birthday and You Get a Gift–Kindle Book on Powerful Presentation Skills Like · Comment · Share Small Talk, Big Results page on Facebook Like Get this email app! Want a signature like mine? Click here.

  3. Marion says:

    Good post. I’m dealing with some of these issues as well..

  4. I really like what you guys are usually up too. This sort of
    clever work and reporting! Keep up the awesome works guys
    I’ve added you guys to my blogroll.

  5. Salvador says:

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been doing a little research on this. And he in fact bought me lunch due to the fact that I discovered it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this topic here on your blog.

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