Did I really say that?

The top tip in this story is to beware of the English language because it can trip you up so easily.

I was talking to a group of managers about Learning Styles. You don’t need to understand what Learning Styles are to understand the trouble I got myself into. Suffice to say that there are 4 and they are called Activist, Reflector, Theorist and Pragmatist. The way I facilitate this subject is to ask delegates to complete a simple questionnaire and identify which of A, R, T and P they score highest. I then group the delegates by their common letter and set them the task of trying to work out what the letter stands for. So far so good.

The A group went first and I asked them what they thought the A stood for. They did well and said the word Active which was close enough. Next went the R group and I asked them what word they thought represented R. They also did well and said Reflecting (again close enough). Next was the turn of the T group and I asked them what they though their word was. They said Thinkers and then with a bit of prompting Theorists. So far so good.

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Now it came to the P group. Aware that the word Pragmatist is not in everybody’s vocabulary I must have been thinking of this when I asked the question ….. “so how would you define your Penis?”.

Well that is what people heard.

Obviously what I had said was “so how would you define your P-ness?” but by then the damage had been done and a shocked silence descended upon the room.

Thankfully the silence only lasted a second or two before giggles, chuckles and then guffaws replaced the silence. My embarrassment was complete however when some bright spark from the Activist group asked me if I would like them to redefine their A-ness!!!!

So, still blushing at the memory, I would like to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. If you like a tuneful e-card please click on the link below and enjoy our chosen charity’s greeting.

Merry Christmas from all at The Reality Business

This year the Reality Business decided to send our Xmas Card budget to the charity Crash who do sterling work with the building industry to help the homeless. We have been fortunate to work with several clients in that sector this year so were delighted to do our bit.

Talking v. Listening

There is a perception that in a difficult conversation it should be the manager who does virtually all of the talking. After all they have probably called the meeting, they should have a clear purpose and outcome in mind and of course should be prepared with some key questions and relevant data.

My experience shows that this one-way type conversation will quickly cease being a conversation and turn into something more akin to a moan, rant, tirade, monologue and general telling off. The other person will either pay minimal lip service or simply go silent and nothing of any value will have been achieved.

I am going to suggest that there is a different way

I am on fairly safe ground to suggest that the normal ratio of talking and listening for any conversation between two people should be about 50 / 50.

Conversations by definition must be two-way and a just because a conversation is difficult that should not radically change that natural dynamic.

However, I would suggest that 50% talking for a manager should be the maximum. Ideally aim to create an environment where you mostly listen and occasionally talk – let’s put the figure at 70 / 30.

How do I get to 70/ 30?

1. Avoid having a script
2. Outline your purpose and share your feedback
3. Ask a good question

4. Listen and ask more questions prompted by what your have heard
5. Listen and ask more questions to confirm and get commitment

In the next newsletter I will provide some top tips around the different sorts of questions that you can ask and where these are best placed to help achieve the 70 /30 ratio.