If you’re like me, you’ve probably had your fair share of frustrating conversations. You know the ones I’m talking about – the kind where you feel like you’re not being heard or where there’s a lot of miscommunication. It can be tough to try and navigate these conversations without getting caught in what I call the “consideration trap.”
The consideration trap is when we get so focused on considering everyone’s perspective that we end up getting stuck and not making any progress. This can happen in personal and professional relationships, often leading to arguments or hurt feelings.
I recently came across a conversation framework that has helped me avoid the consideration trap by keeping my focus on understanding others’ perspectives instead of trying to please everyone all at once.
This simple tool has made a difference in my communication skills, and I hope it will do the same for you!
A conversation framework is a structure or set of guidelines to facilitate communication between two or more people.
It can be used to help ensure that all parties involved are on the same page, understand each other’s perspectives, and communicate effectively.
Why Conversations Matter
A thousand years ago, we would have had a conversation if I wanted to sell something to you.
The telephone was invented back in 1876, and it revolutionized the way we communicate. It made it possible for us to have more conversations with each other and sell things through a new medium. The telephone has had a positive impact on our lives.
It’s convenient for both buyers and sellers. Buyers don’t have to waste time going to a store, and sellers don’t have to deal with the hassle of shipping.
At this point, all interactions were personal and one-on-one. This was the only way to communicate at the time.
As marketing began to take shape during the mid-20th century, print product catalogs, mailers, and ads were used to capture people’s attention. This allowed buyers to make more informed decisions and spend less time talking to salespeople. As a seller, you can focus dialogues where fit and interest are.
In the 1990s, the Internet was born. Businesses began creating online catalogs.
With the rise of marketing automation, forms, email, and inside sales teams begin to replace what was previously called “field” or “direct” marketers.
We have too many ways to generate leads, but once we capture that lead’s attention, we waste too much time on processes that help us as salespeople. We don’t have enough dialogues with our buyers.
Then buyers dislike all the barriers we put in place.
The sellers don’t get the leads to which they’re entitled.
Marketing departments are struggling to drive more sales while the cost of acquiring new customers increases and conversion rates drop.
The lack of conversations costs us desired results and leaves buyers without the experiences they want.
Buyers and sellers both need a more customer-focused approach.
A two-way conversation. Now or later.
The framework for having honest conversations
Now let’s add another layer to your interpersonal skills. This will help improve your communication skills.
I recently attended a Webinar on effective communication strategies, where I was introduced to a framework called the Real Framework.
The 4 main elements of effective sales conversation are Relationship, Empathy, Acknowledging, and Listening.
Relational: The relationship you build with the person you’re talking to is just as meaningful. You need to genuinely be interested in them and curious about their point of view.
Trust is everything when it comes to having great conversations.
Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions and challenge others. But be mindful of how you come across to others.
However, it would be best if you still directed the conversation towards something meaningful. Don’t waste any time talking about things that don’t matter.
Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions and challenge others. Your body movement and tone of voice make up 55% of the overall message.
You need to bring challenging issues to the table but do so in a way that considers the feelings of those around you.
If you want to discuss something important, set the tone and direction of the conversation from the start. This way, you won’t waste time dancing around the issue.
It’s essential to be bold and confident when communicating with others. Your body lingo and tone of voice make up 55% of the overall message.
You must be able to bring complex matters into play but consider other people in the process. You need to be able to bring up tough topics while still considering others’ feelings.
Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It’s about being able to see things from someone else’s perspective.
When you can do that, it’s much easier to find common ground and build rapport. Listening: Listening is a skill that we all need to work on. We tend to think that we are better listeners than we are.
Good listening involves being present, showing interest, and paying attention to verbal and nonverbal cues.
Body Language is a form of nonverbal communication. It includes our posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact. Our body lingo can either support or undermine our words.
Acknowledging the strengths of others and focusing on what’s working is a great way to build rapport.
Respecting others – even when you disagree with them – will go a long way. If you tell others that they are terrible, they will believe you.
Always be encouraging to others. This can help them grow, become more productive, and do better.
Acknowledge the other person’s ability to see strengths and positive aspects in a conversation.
Have a basic level of respect – even if the person you’re talking to is someone you disagree with. If you tell someone that they are a terrible person, they will believe that about themselves.
Tell them something positive if you want people to grow and become more motivated. Self-reinforcing – the more positive things you think and express about others, the better they will perform.
Listen: Being present in a conversation is achieved through listening to understand.
A good conversationalist is genuinely interested in what other people say. If they feel threatened by the conversation, their ability to be a good communicator will disappear.
Listening is not just about hearing what someone is saying but understanding what they are saying.
Listening carefully to what other people have to say, and reflecting on it, is the best way to have a meaningful conversation with them. However, our listening ability will vanish if we feel that our ideas are being challenged.
DISC Profile Analysis: What Your Profile Means for Conversations
In continuation to the Real Framework, I’d like to quickly mention another assessment many organizations use to improve their team’s productivity, communication, and cohesiveness. The DiSC personality test measures four distinct personality traits: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness.
The dominant personality is someone who is confident in their abilities and is not afraid to be assertive. They are goal-oriented, strong-willed, and driven individuals.
As an influential person, you tend to value relationships over everything else. You’re likely to enjoy being social and interacting with other people. These traits can make you well suited for jobs that require interaction with groups of people.
The Steady profile type is dependable and sincere, making them ideal for democratic roles that require thoughtful engagement with others. They are patient and relaxed under pressure, making them great candidates for positions that require a calm demeanor.
If you are meticulous, you likely have high standards for your conversation. You probably are organized, thorough, and methodical in your approach.
That’s interesting about how you communicate.
Suppose you’re speaking to someone with either a dominant or conscientious personality type. In that case, it can be beneficial to focus on the specific results of your ideas, the details of your proposal, and the structure of your discussion.
People with influential and assertive personality types tend to focus on others, so be considerate of who could be influenced by your actions.
Introverts tend to have more prominent, dominating, or influential personality traits, while more outgoing, assertive personalities are more pronounced in extroverted people.
It’s interesting to see that we tend to fit more into specific categories and that it’s not all black or white. We tend to act like one profile more than the others.
Conversation Traps to Avoid
Let’s look at a few common conversation pitfalls specific to your profile.
The Problem Trap
If you’re always looking to improve, you’re probably a critic. People who critique others’ ideas often are great at breaking down complex problems, but they may find it difficult to accept new ways of thinking.
When you only focus on what’s not working, it can consume all the energy in the conversation.
The Execution Trap
This pitfall is prevalent in people who tend to make decisions quickly. They tend to be too focused on the next step, hindering their listening ability.
On top of that, they can neglect to give credit to others, which disrupts the conversation.
The Expert Trap
An “Expert” is someone who knows a lot about a particular subject but may sometimes be too “in their own head” and fail to consider other opinions.
Although they are very concerned with maintaining a professional image, they can come across as too proud and aloof.
The “consideration” Trap
Lastly, the Consideration Trap is a phenomenon where someone listens and engages well in a conversation but struggles to express themselves.
The drawback of being too courteous is that they often allow others to take charge of the situation.
They can become passive instead of active, which can happen if they take on the victim role and must take care of themselves.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your communication skills, I highly recommend using the conversation framework. This simple tool will help you avoid the consideration trap and keep your focus on understanding others’ perspectives. Using this framework, you’ll have more productive and positive conversations with the people in your life.
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