Tag Archives: communication

Deep Conversations; Connections So Sweet


Retreat facilitator Samantha Slade and author of Going Horizontal,
holding up a chart with some ways we can ask for help in creating soulful collaborations.

I sat there at breakfast on the last day of the Berrett-Koehler Author’s Retreat in Wisconsin wondering what felt different. As I walked to the clean-up station and emptied my dishes, it hit me. It had been a while since I had connected with people in deep conversations. These connections felt so sweet.

How did those connections play out? In one-on-one deep conversations and through creative group processes.

One-on-One Connections

The conversations with new and old friends filled me up. The breakfast discussion which involved a bit of problem solving and some storytelling left me with a smile. The process is what hit me. I wasn’t on my phone texting or trying to make sense of the last email in a confusing chain. I dove deeper, clarified my ideas, and learned from other people with a wide variety of perspectives and life experiences.

Many deep conversations continued through that weekend with people in the community.  Authors, members of the publishing team, and leaders from the BK Foundation weren’t rushed and let the talk meander and flow.

One conversation swung back and forth while sitting together on a porch swing, another flowed as two of us walked by the lake early one morning, and a few others happened in randomly placed chairs in a meeting room.  It didn’t matter where they were, although being in nature on a crisp fall weekend certainly provided a lovely backdrop. The common theme? All of these discussions went beyond small talk.

Large Group Connections 

The large group experiences also allowed for sweet connection. I have created many training designs and am sensitive to balancing structure with loose open spaces where people can connect organically. This retreat did just that, allowing for the retreat’s theme, “Soulful Collaborations” to emerge. A shoutout here to retreat design chairs Samantha Slade,  Ed Frauenheim and Tammy Pickering and their fabulous team made up of Alan Briskin and Marilee Adams. Emily Axelrod as the Author’s Co-op President shepherded everything along.

In our retreats (this was my 9th one) we use a method I love called Open Space. People offer topics that are on their mind and ask for input. They start it off by sharing their perspective or asking a question. There are no leaders. The person with the idea who convenes the group is the facilitator.

There are some simple operating guidelines like being able to get up and move to another session if you feel “complete”. Some open space sessions draw large groups and others small numbers. The amount of people who come to a particular session is not relevant. The people who need to be there seem to show up.

I convened one open space session on marketing ideas and left with my plate satisfyingly full. Another open space was facilitated by my author buddy, John Kador who took our group on a free writing journey. He started off with a writing prompt (ex. “There is a situation in the kitchen”) and timed our writing for a finite period of 3 minutes. We shared some of our pieces; laughing and tearing up together. Again, an opportunity for deep connection.

Sweet Connections

I came back from the retreat feeling renewed and connected to new friends and better acquainted with old ones. Having these soulful collaborations taught me more about myself and have helped me form new relationships going forward.

Most importantly, in the last several weeks I have made efforts to take  time for live conversation and even have called a few old friends who I have lost touch with in recent months.

Texts and Instagram posts don’t replace the sweetness of talking together. Soulful collaboration does connect us in ways that are hard to measure but are very sweet indeed.

What Can Project Managers Learn from Introverted Leaders?

This podcast planning flow chart is an example of how Velociteach
practices project management principles in everything they do! 

 

Who Are Project Managers?

I have always admired project managers (PM’s). Their organization and ability to pull together disparate projects on deadline and under budget is impressive. Often promoted from their technical homes in Engineering, Science, and Technology, they get work done!

Influencing people without having formal authority also means that project managers need to refine and sharpen their skills in communication, persuasion, and negotiation. I have found that successful Introverted leaders have learned to use their natural strengths like listening and preparation to accomplish these tasks. They have many lessons to offer PM’s who must navigate their roles up, down, and across the organization.

Partnering with PM’s 

Working with a vibrant project management training company called Velociteach, I developed a course based on the lessons learned from these introverted leaders across a wide variety of industries and organizations.

In preparation, I stopped into the Manage This podcast studio and was interviewed by Bill Yates and Andy Crowe, the executives at Velociteach. As seasoned PM’s, they opened up about the challenges and benefits of leveraging their introverted and extroverted sides. As an extrovert and introvert “Genius Opposite” pair, you will hear how they balance each other out. We also had some good laughs in our time together.

The whole staff threw themselves into the development of my new course and worked the material themselves. We had a number of stimulating conversations about how their own personality preferences served them. Jordan Demers, Media Arts Designer and one of the course developers shared her learning about embracing her own “pause” as an introvert in one of those exchanges.

What You Get from Taking the Course 

Together, we created a compact course with hard-hitting lessons and numerous practical tools.  It is called The Introverted Leader: Leading a Team In Today’s Extroverted Workplace, and it is getting strong reviews.

The good news is you will receive 4.5 PDU’s after listening and watching. There are also lots of handouts and many tools!

I believe this online program is engaging and informative. And as a member of my community, I am pleased to offer you 15% off the regular price. Just use the promo code INTROVERT15 and you are ready to go! Whether you manage projects as your full-time job or just as part of your work, I hope this course helps you gain more control over your work. I would love to hear your feedback. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

Making Your Presentations Pop


 

Presentations are evolving in intriguing ways.  Quiet Influencers who can synthesize data by packing a powerful visual punch win points. Many of my introverted clients find that the anxiety of public speaking lessens when they prepare high impact visuals. These images can express more than any words.
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Do We Have To Talk Out Everything?

Two introverted participants in a recent communications seminar told me how frustrated they both were. What about? It turns out their company wants them to “talk out” project ideas to a variety of people outside their internal group. This is the new expectation in their culture – that   they float ideas in the early stages. These introverted leaders are concerned that this reluctance to carefully think through ideas before sending them half baked into the “corporate universe”results in lower quality output.

Yet they know that they will have to get with the program and are trying to figure out how to create a healthy balance between thinking and talking..a common organizational challenge for introverts.
 Taking time to pause so that we can carefully consider proposals(even sleep on it?) makes total sense. It is hard to do when the  message is “Talk to us, talk to us!”

A Multiplier of Misunderstandings for Introverts and Extroverts

When was the last time you came back to your office and listened to 100 voicemails?  More likely you responded to the many emails in your inbox.

I reached my saturation point a few weeks ago after I realized that I had not one live conversation all day.  That is an energy drain for an extrovert.  The real tipping point came during a back and forth email dialogue with an introverted work colleague.

As our email tennis match proceeded, I could see the misunderstandings multiply.  I wrote him an email to ask for a five-minute phone call to clear up the issue.  He wrote back, asking me if we could “settle it on email”.  “No way,” I thought.  “It would take more time to write each other again than  to talk.”

With some apprehension, I decided to pick up the phone and dial his number.  We had a brief conversation in which he explained his position and we discussed several viable options.  The matter was resolved in less than four minutes.

I know that, as an introvert, he prefers to communicate via email.  As an extrovert, I agree — most of our communication can be handled that way.  I also believe that a personality preference is not a prescription for every situation.  There are times when we need to be able to ask each other questions, dig a little deeper, and listen to a person’s voice tone to better understand their point of view.  We also need to clearly express what we mean.

To what degree should the situation drive the communication mode?  How much do you moderate your preferred style to accommodate others?