"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter most." Martin Luther King
How many conversations have you had in the last twelve months? Adults have over 10,000 conversations a year, from chatting with family and friends to meetings with peers and clients. Even the everyday "life stuff " like shopping and booking a restaurant requires two-way dialogue. Out of all those conversations, only a tiny fraction will be what I would term vital. If you look in the dictionary you will see that vital means "necessary for the continuation of life" or "urgently needed and absolutely crucial". In essence, vital conversations are just that: must-have conversations that will help to move your business, teams and key personal relationships forward. They are the most important conversations you will ever have.
But there's a dilemma. You know deep down that there are
issues to be resolved or words and feelings that must be expressed, and you sense that this one conversation could make a real difference. Unfortunately, you may also feel overwhelmed by strong emotions or fearful of how the conversation may play out. It's no wonder that many people stay silent about the things that matter to them most.
To quote Ken Blanchard, "While no single conversation is
guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a business, a marriage, or a life, any single conversation can." This book looks at how to identify and then successfully engage in the conversations that will make the biggest difference for you.
So why are you reading this book?
Time is precious, so if you're investing that rarest of commodities in reading this book, the chances are you're someone who cares deeply about improving the quality of your communication and your relationships. Alternatively, you may be in the darker, more ominous position of needing to make a significant change in your business or in a key relationship, and you're only too aware that any brighter
future will involve at least one if not several difficult conversations.
You may also be reading this book for one of the following
You know you need to have a vital conversation but you're too afraid to have it.
Your job includes the requirement to have difficult conversations and you want to improve your skills and approach.
Your inability to deal with conflict is holding you back and restricting your career potential.
A part of your life or relationship isn't working out right now and you need to have a conversation with one or more people, but you're not sure how to go about it.
For the long-term health of the business, you need to give certain people some bad news.
You care very deeply about key people in your life and you
want to deepen that connection by communicating in a
respectful, transparent and authentic way.
You have a reputation at work for being a fire-breathing dragon and the HR director has left this book on your desk while you were away from your office!
What is your reason?
There are no easy vital conversations!
As a professional mediator, coach, husband and father, I can handon heart tell you that whatever level of skill you believe you have, there are no easy vital conversations. If you come across literature or a guru who claims they have a blueprint that makes it easy, I recommend a healthy dose of scepticism.I've had the honour and pleasure of working with and learning from some of the world's most talented people in the field ofconflict resolution - and all of them, without exception, have found certain difficult conversations extremely challenging. So if the thought of engaging in a vital conversation terrifies you, you'rein good company! With so much of our success, happiness and peace of mind tied to the quality of our communication and cooperation with others, my experience leads me to believe that the quality of our life and relationships is dependent on the quality of ourconversations.
My role throughout this book is to be your mentor and coach, and to help develop your approach, skills and confidence. The book provides robust strategies for making the impossible conversation possible. If you follow my guidance and apply what this book has to offer, it will bring you to a new way of thinking and communicating, leading to enhanced relationships, better results and greater peace of mind. I also commit to you now not to overpromise. Completely eliminating all fear and anxiety from a vital yet difficult conversation is an unrealistic goal, but minimising the fear and anxiety is definitely within our grasp. Similarly, expecting a fantastic outcome
to every vital conversation is blind optimism, but a significant improvement in the outcome is consistently achievable. Who knows? There may be just a handful of vital conversations between where you find yourself now, and where you most want your life, career or business to be!