In this podcast with my friend and colleague Penny Walker, we discuss the challenge of facilitating discussions when you’re the expert. Penny is an independent facilitator specialising in sustainable development. She also presented at #dareconf mini last year. Continue reading How to facilitate when you’re the expert: podcast conversation with Penny Walker
When we go into meetings aiming to change people’s minds, they often object because their need for choice isn’t met. If we reframe our objectives to include finding solutions together, we can facilitate in a way that meets each person’s need for choice. Continue reading When people don’t engage in meetings, reframe your objectives to give them choice
When we use violent language to describe our work, we deny our autonomy. If we use the language of choice, we can affirm our autonomy and inspire others to do the same. Continue reading Use the language of choice to affirm your autonomy at work
When a colleague makes a suggestion that we fear may harm our chances of success, we tend to “push back” against their position. This confrontation normally leads to neither side being satisfied. But if we connect instead of pushing back, we can move beyond positions and discover the underlying needs. This builds empathy and opens up options we hadn’t previously considered. Continue reading Pushing back blocks empathy. Can you connect instead?
When we’re frustrated we tend to criticise other people (or their work.) That blocks us from finding out why our needs aren’t being met. Continue reading Before you criticise, find out why you’re frustrated
When we tell people the “right” way to do things, we’re unlikely to get the help we need. Instead we can choose to show people how working with us can meet their needs. Continue reading Show people how working with you can meet their needs
When we experience conflict about something we’re working on, that conflict isn’t really about the work. It’s about trust between the people in the room.
I learnt this from a participant at a workshop I was facilitating, who I’ll call Adam. We were role-playing difficult conversations from work. Adam was a product manager, and his scenario was a regular meeting where his team of developers prioritised features for the next sprint. One particular developer always seemed to raise the same issue: a feature he thought was important, even though Adam had explained that it wasn’t a priority for the business. As the role-play started, I suggested that Adam use a listening technique we were working on to find out more about what was going on for this developer who always seemed to speak up. Continue reading Conflict isn’t really about the work, it’s about trust
When we advocate for “quality content”, we’re expressing our unmet needs by making a judgment. That doesn’t serve user needs.
During my talk at Confab Barcelona—”Use agile methods to work together on content” (slides below)—I suggested that in order to benefit from agile methods, we choose to “serve user need over content quality”:
— Elaine Larkin (@elainelarkin) September 30, 2014
Although most people in the room seemed to follow, a few objected: someone stated that user needs and quality are the same thing. Later a friend observed that my statement was provocative. I realised that I’m not interested in provoking people and I didn’t actually explain what I meant. I’ll do that here instead. Continue reading Advocating for “quality” content serves our unmet needs, not user needs
It’s almost a year since I organised #dareconf, the people skills conference. We’re back for a second year on 22-23 September, redesigned from the ground up—backstory if you’re interested—and I’m excited to show you the results. The pitch is “skills to help you work together”: Continue reading Take part in #dareconf—the people skills conference—from anywhere