BLOG ARCHIVE

What to do when someone doesn’t want to talk

How do I make someone talk about an issue when they don’t want to?

That’s the question Lisa* asked me after attending my Don’t Shoot the Messenger workshop.

Lisa was married with four kids and her relationship with her husband was in trouble.

She’d tried to speak with him about their challenges many times, but he point-blank refused to engage.

She asked me what she should do.

The simple answer is you can’t MAKE someone talk about an issue if they don’t want to. You also can’t MAKE them listen to or hear what’s being said.

What you can do though, is influence them by framing the conversation in a way that encourages them to participate.

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Twelve lessons I learnt as a journo

This year marks 12 years since I worked as a newspaper journalist for the Latrobe Valley Express in Gippsland, Victoria.

I loved being part of the newsroom: the pace, the energy, the banter, the inside scoop on what was going on.

But it was more than that. My time as a journo taught me skills for life and the lessons I learnt still hold me in great stead today.

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The value of values

What do you value? In life; a partner; a job?

If I asked you this question, could you answer me? Not with some vague explanation of what you think your values should be, or what you want them to be; but with a clear description of the things that are most important to you and the way you live your life.

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Communication and positive relationship after having a difficult conversation

Once you’ve had a difficult conversation, it’s tempting to think your job is done, but the best communicators know the high-pressure conversation is not the end of the story.

If you want to maintain your relationship with a person, it’s important you continue to communicate with them regularly and follow up after a difficult conversation has been had.

Make an effort to check in with them in the days and weeks afterwards when the pressure drops off.

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What you do communicates more than what you say

Actions speak louder than words. It’s a cliché because it’s true.

What you DO communicates far more powerfully than what you SAY and if your words and actions are out of alignment, it’s your actions people will believe.

Simon was an old-school ‘command and control’ leader who often told his staff that respect was one of his core values.

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Reframe failure to be a courageous communicator

An intense fear of failure stifles many people’s #communication.

Our fear of saying the wrong thing and offending someone keeps us silent, or our concern about embarrassing ourselves in front of the boss means we don’t put forward a suggestion about a new initiative.

So many of us see failure as a bad thing, something to hide from and avoid at all costs.

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Avoidance makes problems grow

Few people enjoy conflict and confrontation but avoiding difficult conversations is not the answer.

When we don’t ‘address the elephant’ and deliver feedback it doesn’t impact individuals alone; it impacts the success of teams, businesses and organisations.

Issues that start out as minor niggles and annoyances snowball into major conflict when leaders avoid talking about them.

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