Do you have an elephant in your meeting room?

During my many years of coaching at TC3 I have had the opportunity to observe what typically goes wrong while communicating. I discussed this topic with fellow colleagues and we arrived at a list of the most frequent communication errors. These mistakes happen at almost every company, and are easily avoidable:

  • Not listening.
  • Selective listening.
  • Vague questions.
  • Unclear messages
  • The tell, sell, yell syndrome.
  • Addicted to being right.
  • Lack of empathy.
  • Bullying.
  • Deviations of the topic.
  • No clear results.
  • No clear goals.
  • Lack of reframing the conversation.
  • Not being open to be influenced by others.
  • Withholding information.
  • Lack of focus on facts.

I hope you can agree to this list, but what worries me the most is that a lot of tough topics, delicate topics, are not being openly debated in the meeting room. Often I see huge elephants standing in front of me – the participants see them too – but no one dares to debate them properly.  This way of dealing with issues is costing companies fortunes every year and I believe not communicating openly and properly can sometimes costs more than the effect of competitors. We need to have the courage to speak out on things clearly with respect for the other party.  We need to have the courage to be candor and caring when communicating about delicate topics.

Now, what can we do about it? Well, the first thing to work on is the trust relationship between all stakeholders. We can gain trust through the way we speak with our colleagues as everything happens through conversation. So let’s do everything we can in our power to increase the quality of our communication and conversations. Another point on which we need to work is to make it safe for our staff to express what they really think and feel about these delicate topics.  Here I would like to ask your help and I will tell you why.

We at TC3, and our partnership with CreatingWe Institute Benelux, are building a toolkit and a game to make conversations safe. You could help us immensely by telling us what you already do to make tough issues debatable in your organization or in your private lives. We have already developed quite some ideas from the hundreds of workshops we held but we would love to hear your take on it.  We will put them together and later share the results, so you can be inspired by new methods.

I would also to announce that we will have complementary session on communication, more specifically Conversational Intelligence®, on June 22rd and 23th. This program is based on the wonderful book Conversational Intelligence, How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results by Judith E. Glaser. If you would like to attend these half-day sessions, do not hesitate to contact us. The sessions will be focused on how to communicate in a safe way, and how to discuss very difficult topics.

Let’s all have safe and better conversations that will help us achieve our goals!


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