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The 3×3 Approach to Win-Win Conversations

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“One of the Biggest Mistakes We Make is Thinking Other People Think the Way We Think.” 

Laura Lanham, CMCS, ACC

We all have those frustrating conversations that lead nowhere. What we get out of the actual conversation is far from what we intended. We hope to get some answers and often leave frustrated when we don’t. It doesn’t have to be that way for either side. Hopefully, following this simple guide can create positive outcomes for both participants, a win-win.

This approach will not only help change the outcomes of your conversations, you will also walk away with more clarity and direction. It requires you to remember 3 skills, 3 questions and 3 steps. The skills that need to be practiced are Preparation, Listening and Summarizing. The questions you need to ask should answer What, Why and How. The steps you need to apply these are Before, During and when Ending the conversation.

 The following are two common scenarios clients are often challenged with. Both can follow the 3 x 3 Approach with successful outcomes.

1) “My boss doesn’t give me any feedback on my performance. I leave meetings wondering what I’m doing wrong to not earn a promotion.”

2) “Every time I ask my son anything about school, he gets angry and avoids talking all together. I can’t figure out what is bothering him.”

Before the Conversation:

First things first, PREPARATION is a key skill to guiding the conversation. Always prepare before beginning a difficult conversation, if possible. To do this, you need to reflect on what and why you are wanting this conversation to happen.

Ask yourself: What do I want to get out of this conversation?

Boss- I want to know what I need to do and how long I need to wait to get the promotion I have been working toward.

Son- I want to know what specifically bothers him when I bring up school.

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