Courageous Conversations

As a woman in business for the last 20 years, I have seen too many good people remain silent during meetings, when they clearly had something to say.

Courageous Conversations (F)
Woman Speaking – Via Shutterstock

I’ve witnessed too many clever people remaining still, instead of asking for the promotion they deserve.

Sadly, too many of these people are women.

Why do we avoid speaking up in challenging situations?

There are a few reasons why many of us will remain silent. The most obvious is because we are afraid of being judged, afraid of what others will think of us if we do speak our mind.

The most popular reason is that deep down we simply don’t think that speaking up will change anything. So what’s the point?!

(Detert & Edmondson, 2005; Milliken et al., 2003; Van Dyne, Ang, & Botero, 2003)

There are 3 good reasons to have Courageous Conversations:

Research tells us that when we don’t say what we want to say, it will affect:

1. How much we enjoy our job.

2. How much we contribute to the tasks that we perform.

3. How you express your opinions at work (or not) is a direct reflection on how people in your team see you. The less you say, the more you allow others to define your voice and your identity. (Glenn Llopis, Forbes Magazine Contributor)

What is Courageous Conversation

I define courageous conversation as the ability to have a productive conversation that leads to progress, no matter how challenging.

The word Courage begins comes from the word Coeur, the French word for ‘heart’. When a courageous conversation comes from the heart, it is a learning experience and an opportunity for grow.

Can Courage be taught?

I teach a system which gives people a plan of attack when face to face with a courageous conversation. It’s called the DARE strategy:

Diagnose –The most accurate diagnostic tools are those that come from growing your own awareness to the people around you. Be sure to listen and engage with the people you work with and always consider why is the matter important to them.

Adapt – Tailor your approach to suit the people you’re speaking to. People often fall into behaviour types when under stress and by understanding these types will allow you to respond differently to their specific needs and ability to hear your message.

Raise the Bar – The first rule of Courageous Conversation is to know that you are not always right! If we can challenge our own perceptions and accept that everyone thinks differently, our ability to learn and take in new information will become much easier.

Essential Tools – We need to learn the basic ‘best practice’ communications skills today. The top of the list is to use tact when communicating with others, recognise each-others efforts and acknowledge different points of view.

I started Speaking Rights after personally witnessing 100s of 1000s of pounds be flushed down the toilet because of unnecessarily bad conversations. It doesn’t need to be this way. The time to change is now.

About the author

Janet Taras Janet Taras offers corporate & private training sessions, Keynote speeches and Webinar training. Janet is an award winning speaker determined to help people communicate in a new generation. Through exploring diverse perspectives, she ‘DARES’ the audience to open their mind and explore more productive ways to engage with each other.

Janet also leads training courses that help businesses travel more comfortable between the blurred lines of communication. She is well known for increasing employee retention, and improving both internal and external working relationships.

Janet has 20 years’ experience in the consumer goods industry developing and marketing products around the globe. She has worked for small and large size businesses and created over 500 products in her career, which can only be done with effective communication.

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