Did you ever come away from a conversation thinking that was a total waste of your time and energy?
Let me ask you, can you afford to waste time and energy?
Why are you tolerating it?
Simple as it sounds, I believe a quick win on improving productivity and bottom line figures, is to set up clear boundaries on what a good conversation IS and what it is NOT
Let’s agree that boundaries are healthy ways of protecting our time, energy and wellness
I particularly like the clarity Reid Hoffman has around what events to attend and what conversations to have.
He considers 2 key factors:
- Will it advance the project I am working on?
- Will it be fun?
The ideal outcome would be to balance both of course. That said the priority in business is usually to check, ‘Will it advance me’.
I use this as a guide in my executive and leadership coaching. I want to ensure that we always stay within coaching and not move towards a fire-side conversation. I look for the signs of advancement.
Is each question, challenge, interruption going to advance my client personally or professional towards their chosen agenda?
This keeps the time we have together as high value, high impact, and high return on coaching time.
Outside of coaching, I am very conscious of the high value time I have with people
I love being part of different groups, each with different objectives and all with the purpose of advancing my growth as a human. I often get asked, ‘How do you get so much done’. I used to say “I don’t know’, but through coaching and self-awareness I do know. I value time and within the time I have with people, I value the conversations we have, I stay present and conscious to listen to all that is being said so I can give help that matters and get help when it matters. This has taken years of practice and lots of energy wasted on frustration.
In my personal and professional life, I have low toleration for empty conversations. For me, empty conversations usually have a lot of words, a lot of noise and very little content. By content I mean anything you can take away as a lesson to use moving forward either for myself or to share with others.
Some of my key signs of an empty conversation:
- Feeling you are on a roundabout of someone else’s thoughts and there is no exit.
- Heart rate increasing as your brain is trying to balance good manners and the desire to run away
- A voice inside my head saying ‘Please makes it Stop’
Within our many roles in life we have different agendas and goals. The more clarity we have on the types of conversations that support us in each role, the more progress we will make and success we achieve.
Whether I have 30 minutes with a CEO of a global organisation or 30 minutes with one of my children, I am deliberately conscious about the conversations that we have to ensure it brings value.
Because of the diverse network of people I interact with, conversations include topics such as transformational strategy role out or it may be about the different stages in getting 3D eyebrows, either way if they advance the relationship, I’m in, if not, I’m out.
I would love to have your thoughts on how you get out of empty conversations.
After all we want ‘ A little LESS conversation, a LOT more action’
Pictures from FreeDigitalPhotos.net: Stuart Miles, Pakorn, Damilo Rizzuti
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