Over recent months I've had the opportunity to practice my conversation skills. Throughout 90% of my life, I've plowed right into conversations head on with little regard for feelings or relationships, while only focusing on results.
That happens to just be the way I'm wired. A Warrior personality. Goal oriented and results driven. The problem is, when having a conversation with somebody, my directness can easily be misinterpreted as frustration or anger. Actually, now that I think about it, sometimes that's the correct interpretation. If all that I care about are the results then it is easy for me to become frustrated with others.
As I've grown in age and experience, I realize the best results are achieved through leadership skills to build relationships. Everybody seems to be more cooperative when they know that you care about them.
This journey began when a good friend of mine asked me to read the book "Crucial Conversations" about two years ago. I accepted that challenge because I made a pledge to him to do so.
Years later, I've read that book at least three times, with considerable highlighting, and also listened to the Audible book three times. I've learned a lot from that amazing book.
The biggest thing that I got out of it is that I have to "start with heart", truly caring about the person on the other end of that conversation and trying to see it from their point of view and not just my own. I suppose it's forced me to become more humble and understand that I may not know everything after all.
I've changed the title of my blog to Caring Conversations because that's where it starts. A crucial conversation can be gently navigated or even avoided if it starts with heart and caring, with compassion and humility, and with the goal to find the best common solution and not just my way.
I've applied many principles from this book and it's changed my life for sure. Family relationships and business relationships have all been strengthened. I have avoided some serious headaches using techniques found here. Of course I've also blown it a few times and recognized how I could've done things better afterwards. When that happens, I get to practice apologizing, and that's always fun.
I encourage anyone who is serious about their personal development to give this book a once, twice, or three times over.
And remember, a conversation doesn't have to turn crucial if it first starts with caring.