How To Cultivate the Skill of Powerful and Effective Conversations

By: Rebekah Nanfria, Associate Certified Coach at 3Be Coaching

Have you ever left an important conversation feeling like it slipped away from you? You lost your train of thought, left out key points or became distracted by the other person’s response? It’s common to feel anxious when faced with a “big” conversation. This stress sometimes results in procrastination of the very exchanges that could create more ease, energy, and possibility in life.  As a new parent, who’s managing increased responsibilities and finding themselves in a place of transition, cultivating the skill of powerful and effective conversations will serve you in navigating your family’s “new normal” and advocating for what you need. 

Here’s a method to mindfully prepare for key conversations.   

Step 1:  Start with what’s important to you about this conversation. 

Ask yourself what problem will it solve? What forward motion will it create? How will it benefit you and those around you? Why does it need to happen? Knowing these answers will help keep you on track. Being specific about your “why” lays the groundwork for a focused, concise discussion. 

Step 2: Once you know what’s important, articulate what success would look like. 

What do you hope to be saying about the exchange when it’s over? Journeys are smoother when there’s a destination. By starting with a successful end in mind, you can include the facts, thoughts and feelings which support your desired outcome.  

Consider the following questions as you craft your part of the conversation.  

  • #1 What do I want them to know? Start with the facts. What information is vital here? What gaps in knowledge am I filling? What stats, deadlines, goals/visions, challenges, victories are relevant? You might consider including “I am” statements. Examples: “I am longing to be challenged more.” “I am needing more rest.” 
  • #2 What do I want them to feel? What emotions do I hope the other person will be experiencing? Excitement? Ease? Confidence? Inspiration? Consider the emotional impact of what you say and how you say it. 
  • #3 What do I want them to do? What action am I hoping for as a result of the conversation? You might have the opportunity to articulate a direct request. Be prepared to communicate that ask succinctly and with gratitude. 

Next, consider the assumptions you are bringing to the conversation. (“This person thinks I am _______.” or “I think this person is __________.”) Notice the stories you are making up about the situation. Positive and negative assumptions can both lead to miscommunication. Challenge yourself to be present with what is being said in the moment, rather than communicating from an imagined reality. 

Lastly, reflect on the array of possible outcomes so you aren’t blindsided. Although it’s impossible to predict every potential response, by thinking through the likelihoods, you can confidently prepare various replies.

Use this sentence as a focusing tool: 

“In this conversation, I want (person's name) to feel (adjective) and (adjective) so I will share my message with (adjective), (adjective) and (adjective).”

Preparing your “script” will increase ease and effectiveness as you engage in conversations that support your definition of success.

Categories: : Professional Growth