For the past year, our team at Menlo Group Commercial Real Estate has focused on open communication. We have strived to address all issues directly and to do so with genuine care for the other individual involved.
To further internalize these principles, we recently read the New York Times bestseller, Crucial Conversations, written by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler. As we met together, we discussed ways to improve our conversations among team members, with clients and with friends and family members.
Here are some of our key takeaways:
As we introspected, we identified many things that may hold us back from bringing up difficult topics and determined that fear is a major factor. We may fear feeling awkward or offending someone else, especially when pointing out someone else’s mistakes. We may also fear our job security were we to approach a sensitive subject with a superior or client.
The authors provided many strategies for initiating difficult conversations and for controlling our emotions throughout the discussion. The reminder to look at the big picture particularly resonated with us.
Many of our team members admitted that the desire to be “right” can negatively impact our relationships. By taking a step back, we are able to focus on the relationships that we value and adjust our approach to ensure that our relationships remain intact.
In our industry, we aim to close deals for our clients. We were reminded that the other parties involved in the deal have the same goal. Instead of viewing negotiations as an “us vs. them” process, we can remember that we all have the same objective. This way of thinking will enable us to more quickly achieve positive results. Even if a deal does go south, we can preserve our professional relationships by keeping our cool and overcoming our initial emotions.
Not every discussion will go as smoothly as we would like, but by implementing the principles we learned from this book, we are better able to control our side of the conversation. We look forward to continued improvement in our communication skills in both our professional and personal interactions.