October 19, 2021

Tips for effective communication: Step boldly into tough conversations

PEOSTA, Iowa — No family is exempt from having tough conversations.

Rena Striegel, president of Transition Point Business Advisors, encouraged farm families to promote open communication, during a webinar hosted by AgriSafe.

“Although people may appear to be good at tough conversations, no one really likes them,” Striegel said. “Regardless of your personality type, regardless of how bold you are, everyone has to practice how to get better at being effective in addressing tough things. It takes practice.

“The sooner we address issues, the easier they are to resolve.”

As time passes, problems that start out as “little monsters” grow into major issues.

“It may start with a behavior or an attitude, something involving only one person,” Striegel said. “But before too long, the problem becomes less easy to identify.

“It becomes more difficult to talk about. A lot of emotions start to creep in. When emotion gets involved in these conversations, it exacerbates the situation.”

The moral of the story: early intervention is good.

Striegel shared five steps to follow when hard conversations need to happen:

1. Identify the root of the concern. Separate emotion from facts.

2. Clarify the outcome. Articulate what outcome you’re looking for.

3. Outline your message.

4. Select the stage. Choose the right time and place to have the conversation.

5. Come to agreement. If there isn’t a full resolution to the problem, put a pin in it so you can come back to the problem and readdress it.

Learn more at www.transitionpointba.com.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor