I’m sure at one time or another you’ve had THAT conversation with someone; a conversation that you’d rather not have. A conversation where you have to confront someone.
It could be at home with your personal relationships or at work or with your sporting team etc.
The truth is that most people would prefer not to have the conversation and many actively avoid it. However, if you avoid it, it only tends to get worse.
When I’m coaching my clients, many find that even when they resolve to have the conversation, they don’t know how to start it.
So this week, we’re going to talk about a concept called “Inoculation”, which I learned from Jennifer Elliot, creator of the Integrity and Values profile.
Inoculation as a concept for communication skills is the same as what most of us went through with getting vaccinated for Covid.
By being given a little of the virus, the aim is to lessen the effect for people who might get it and prevent as many as possible from getting sick.
When we have to have THAT conversation, we start by “inoculating” the other person so that they do not feel ambushed or blindsided.
We might start by saying something like, “This is really awkward for me. I feel uncomfortable having to have this conversation”.
This helps the initiator of the conversation to acknowledge how they feel so they can go on and also helps the person receiving the feedback to get ready for what’s about to come.
From there the feedback can be given, e.g. “It has come to my attention that one of our customers has not been invoiced for the past three months for work completed. Can you help me understand how this happened please?”
The next thing to do is to active listen the response.
The conversation can develop from there.
Inoculation gets you started. It sets the tone for how the conversation will go and reduces the potential for an argument.
Next time you have to have THAT conversation with someone, please inoculate them. You’ll find you’ll most likely get a better outcome as well as maintain a better relationship.
P.S. Our next Loyal Lieutenant masterclass series is starting in September. Check it out here https://shirleydaltoncourse.com/webinar
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