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Month: September 2021

How to Get Your Silent 1-on-1s Back on Track

During 1-on-1 meetings, I’ve often had a direct report who says “I have nothing to share” or “nothing from my side this week.”

When I was still an inexperienced manager, I would reply “okay great, let’s end the meeting and go back to work then!” However, after more years of running 1-on-1’s with dozens of different personalities, I’ve learned that ending the meeting is always the wrong thing to do.

Over time, I’ve developed a list of questions that I keep readily available in a corner of my mind in case those situations arise, as a way to unblock them and generate more insightful discussions. In this article, I’m sharing my approach.

The Most Important Step Of Every Great Conversation

If you’re like me, chances are you walked into many high-stakes conversations without even realizing what was at stake, and without having either a goal or a game plan on how to achieve that goal.

And then, you walked out without understanding what the heck just happened and why everything turned out so wrong.

Having good conversations is a skill. You need to keep track of all of your interlocutors’ signals including values, beliefs, arguments, body language, logical fallacies, and so on, while keeping track of your own presence and communication.

So if on top of that you realize mid-flight that you didn’t plan exactly what preferred outcome you wanted from the interaction, then it’s game over.

Entering a conversation with a goal can be the deal-breaker that will make the conversation a success for both parties, or a drag and the beginning of a conflict.

Most shortcomings can be avoided by preparing and practicing the art of conversation, and by taking care of the most important step of all.