Article: Bad Choices Can Lead To Good Ones by Deborah Brown-Volkman:

What All Great Conversations Need
Deborah Brown-Volkman

Not getting what you want in your career? Maybe you are not asking effectively.

Communication should be simple. You say one thing, and the other person says another. The challenge is that each person communicates differently. People listen to what is being said differently, and they interpret what they hear differently, too.

The burden of getting the message across successfully falls on the person who needs to get their message across. This person is you. The more simply you can state what you want, the easier it will be for you to get it. The clearer you can be upfront, the better your results will be. Miscommunication will be minimized, and the next steps in getting what you want will become evident.

So, How You Communicate Well? Follow These Four Points Below:

1. Have A Purpose.

Purpose is a desired result or effect. Purpose is your intention-the positive outcome that you want to occur. Great conversations happen in the mind first, when you are able to visualize yourself obtaining a favorable result. Once you can see yourself being successful, you become successful.

In order to figure out your purpose, ask yourself the following:

• What do I want?
• What would I like the other person to say?
• What would I like the other person to do?
• What would I like to happen after the conversation is over?

It's important not to have a conversation without purpose. If you don't have a purpose, you will tend to flub your way through the conversation, and the other person will not get what you are saying or understand what you are asking for.

2. Have A Focus.

You have focus when you are working toward something specific. You have a very definite goal in your mind that you want to reach. Unlike purpose, which gets you ready to have the conversation, focus keeps you on track when you are already talking.

You can get focused by asking yourself the following:

• What do I want to happen?
• What are the specific things I need from this conversation?
• What are the specific things I need the other person to say?
• What are the specific things I need the other person to do?
• What will be the specific points I will make sure I cover/discuss?
• What do I see going wrong with the conversation, and how can I turn it around?

There are different ways to say focused. You can bring an agenda or a list of items you want to discuss, or you can state your purpose up front. This way, if the conversation goes off track, you have something to bring you back to your original intent.

3. Get Agreement.

An agreement is an arrangement between parties regarding a course of action. You know an agreement has been reached when the other person understands what you are saying and agrees to do what you have asked.

You know you have reached an agreement when you have covered the following items:

• Both sides have had the opportunity to speak.
• There are no other points to cover at that time.
• The parties shake hands or put into writing what was agreed to.

Agreement is important. It signifies that you have covered all of the bases, listened well, asked and answers all questions, and accomplished your purpose. You had a goal in mind and you reached it. Good for you.

4. Create Next Steps.

The next steps are the things that will happen after the conversation is over. During the conversation, you will discuss what will happen next. You will also spell out the timing of things, the order in which things will occur, and arrange another time when you will speak again.

You are the person responsible for making sure next steps have been created. Do not leave it up to the other party. Keep next steps in mind while you are creating your focus and reaching an agreement.

While you are creating subsequent tasks, ask yourself the following:

• What will I do next?
• What will the other person do next?
• When will we meet again?
• When will we check in to make sure we are both on track?
• When will our agreement be complete?

Without next steps, the agreement ends with the conversation.

Great conversations rarely happen without preparation. You have to put in the effort. When you take the time to do the work beforehand, your results will be much better afterward.

So, what do you say? You only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!


Deborah Brown-Volkman is the president of Surpass Your Dreams, Inc., a career- and mentor-coaching company that has been delivering a message of motivation, success and personal fulfillment since 1998. The company works with senior executives, vice presidents and managers who are out of work or overworked. Deborah is also the creator of the Career Escape Program and author of Coach Yourself To A New Career: A Book To Discover Your Ultimate Profession. Deborah Brown-Volkman can be reached at via email at or at (631) 874-2877.


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