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Key Takeaways

  • Nicole’s book, ‘And Breathe...,’ focuses on preventing and managing difficult leadership conversations. The title represents the relief one feels after successfully navigating such conversations.
  • There are four main obstacles to engaging in difficult conversations: fear, lack of skills, limiting beliefs, and lack of time. Fear can manifest in various ways, and a lack of skills often affects new managers or business owners. Limiting beliefs stemming from past negative experiences and avoiding difficult conversations can actually waste more time in the long run.
  • Overcoming fear and limiting beliefs is possible through coaching and training. Becoming aware of one’s fears and beliefs is the first step toward managing them effectively.
  • Responding intentionally and thoughtfully, rather than reacting impulsively, is crucial in difficult conversations. Taking a pause before responding allows one to choose a constructive approach and avoid escalating conflicts.
  • Improving self-awareness is essential for effective communication. Seeking feedback from a trusted individual can provide valuable insights into one’s communication approach and help identify areas for improvement.
  • The prevalence of quick, text-based communication methods, such as email and messaging apps, has increased the potential for miscommunication and conflict in the modern era. The lack of non-verbal cues and the misinterpretation of messages can lead to misunderstandings and tension in the workplace.
  • The changing work environment, including remote and hybrid models, has further amplified the challenges in digital communication, emphasizing the need for awareness and consideration of the impact on relationships and conflict resolution.

Executive Summary:

Hi everyone; thanks for joining us on a brand new episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Our guest today is Nicole Posner. Nicole is a Communication Conflict expert who helps leaders and business owners minimize workplace conflict through more effective communication. She offers her expertise through various mediums, including books, coaching, consulting, and training. 

Additionally, Nicole has been recognized with numerous awards for her work in communication and conflict resolution. She’s also the author of ‘And Breathe…: Prevent, Manage and Master Difficult Leadership Conversations in Business and Beyond!’. She resides in London with her husband Julian, three sons, three stepchildren, four grandchildren, and two dogs.

With that said, let’s delve deep into the insights Nicole shares in this episode.

Nicole Posner’s Transformational Journey into Communication and Conflict Management

To start, Nolan asks Nicole about her journey into communication and conflict management. 

In reply, Mrs. Posner describes how she began her career in a toxic PR environment which made a strong impression on her. After marrying young and starting her own marketing business, she eventually pursued studying psychology for personal interest. This led her to mediation, a discipline that appealed to her problem-solving nature and interest in working with people within defined timeframes.

She trained to become a mediator, focusing on the psychology of conflict, which reminded her of her toxic PR days. This sparked her interest in focusing on relationships within the workplace. From her mediation experience, she noticed a common problem where leaders didn’t know how to handle difficult conversations. 

As you may have guessed, this realization led her to become a coach to help leaders navigate these situations. She also provides training and consulting in this area.

Unpacking Nicole Posner’s Book ‘And Breathe…’

Next, Aram praises Nicole’s book and shares his intention to discuss its two key concepts: prevention and cure. He asks Posner about her choice of title, ‘And Breathe…’.

The latter explains that the title reflects the relief that readers should feel after having a difficult conversation. She compares the experience of having such conversations to holding one’s breath due to tension and explains that finally, being able to breathe out symbolizes the relief one feels when it’s over.

Aram agrees, mentioning the importance of maintaining control in challenging conversations, often starting with a simple act like breathing in and out. Posner concurs with this point.

Understanding the Four Obstacles in Engaging in Difficult Conversations, as Explained by Nicole Posner

Moving on, Nolan asks Nicole why people often resist engaging in difficult conversations, despite their importance. In response, Mrs. Posner identifies four main reasons: fear, lack of skills, limiting beliefs, and lack of time.

She then explains that fear can manifest in many forms, such as the fear of confrontation, losing control, losing general judgment, messing up the conversation, or receiving pushback. Lack of skills can be seen in new managers or business owners who have been promoted to leadership roles or have started a business but have never had formal training in people management. 

Limiting beliefs can arise from past experiences where similar conversations went poorly, leading to the belief that the conversation is unlikely to go well this time around.

Lastly, the time issue is somewhat ironic, as avoiding difficult conversations often leads to more time being spent on the problem once it has escalated. Aram agrees with Nicole’s points, particularly noting that unresolved issues from avoided conversations rarely disappear on their own.

Overcoming Fear and Limiting Beliefs

On a similar note, Aram asks Nicole if she can coach and train clients around overcoming fear and limiting beliefs, two of the main obstacles to having difficult conversations. The latter affirms that it’s possible to coach people to manage their fears and limit beliefs by first helping them become aware of what those fears and beliefs are.

She suggests that once people understand their own fears and have the tools to manage them, they can better manage themselves and the conversation. Aram then shares his observations about fear in difficult conversations, highlighting two extremes: people who are fearful because they find the conversation uncomfortable. And those who are fearful because they lack the skills to handle the conversation and fear they might respond explosively. 

Nicole agrees that such explosive responses should be avoided.

The Power of the Pause: Navigating Workplace Conflicts and the Role of Intentional Responses in Conversations

Subsequently, Nicole explains to Aram and Nolan the importance of understanding the expression, ‘every action creates a reaction,’ especially in the context of workplace conflicts. She points out that reactive, explosive responses don’t help anyone and can lead to escalating conflicts.

Mrs. Posner then uses the example of the movie ‘Sliding Doors,’ where different paths lead to entirely different outcomes, to illustrate the power of choice in how one responds in a conversation. A response is considered thoughtful, while a reaction is often impulsive and can trigger a chain of unwanted events.

Aram links Posner’s explanation back to the title of her book, ‘And Breathe…,’ suggesting that the duration of the pause for breath could determine whether a person responds in a way that is constructive and intentional or reacts impulsively.

Nicole agrees, calling it the ‘power of the pause,’ which allows one to consider whether their response will be helpful to the direction of the conversation. However, she admits that even with knowledge and skills, everyone—including herself—is still a work in progress and needs to check in with themselves to ensure their responses serve the conversation well.

An Examination of Change, Team Dynamics, Organizational Silos, and Other Potential Flashpoints

The speakers then discuss the common sources of conflict within businesses. Nicole notes that change and transition is a significant conflict trigger because it can cause unsettling feelings among employees who are not in the loop or are resistant to change. Other sources of conflict include personality clashes and team dynamics, especially given that colleagues don’t usually get to choose who they work with.

She also cites the induction of new management as a potential source of conflict, especially in smaller businesses where employees who used to have direct access to the business owner no longer do. Silos within the organization, where departments work on projects independently and without sufficient communication, can also lead to conflict.

Another source of conflict is the implementation of new systems and technologies. Resistance may come from employees who are used to doing things a certain way and are uncomfortable with change. Lastly, Nicole mentions cross-function reporting, where employees report to different departments or bosses, often causing friction as everyone believes their work to be more important.

Tools and Strategies for Understanding and Improving Your Interaction Approach

Moving on, Nicole advises on best practices for becoming more self-aware in communication. She suggests that if a person is frequently experiencing difficult conversations or finds themselves at odds with others, this can be a red flag indicating they may need to reconsider their communication approach.

Nolan adds that having a trusted individual who can provide honest feedback is another effective way to improve self-awareness. He explains that this person can help you understand if you are missing the mark and provide constructive criticism that can lead to improvement.

Nicole agrees with Nolan and emphasizes the importance of self-awareness in seeking such feedback. She points out that one needs to be self-aware to recognize the need for a trusted friend or advisor for feedback in the first place.

Aram also mentions that an individual’s style, delivery, tone, and cultural preferences are deeply ingrained and may not be easily recognized without input from another person. Nicole agrees, stating that sometimes these aspects need to be pointed out for one to fully understand their communication style and potential impacts.

The Impact of Modern Digital Communication on Misunderstanding and Conflict in the Workplace

Lastly, Nicole discusses the increase in the potential for miscommunication and conflict in the modern era due to the prevalence of quick, text-based communication methods, such as email, chat, and messaging apps like WhatsApp. She mentions how these methods have gradually replaced traditional phone conversations, leading to the loss of the art of conversation.

She brings up the instance of ‘Read Receipts’ on WhatsApp, where one can see if their message has been read but not replied to, creating a sense of impatience or misunderstanding. Similarly, the use of humor in text messaging can often be misinterpreted due to the lack of non-verbal cues, like facial expressions or tone of voice, which play a crucial role in conveying the intended message.

Aram agrees, noting that the changing work environment due to the pandemic, including remote and hybrid work models and the increasing reliance on digital communication, have exacerbated these challenges.

Both agree that there is a need to bring awareness to these changes in communication and to consider the impact these quickfire methods of communication can have on relationships and conflict within the workplace.

Thank you for listening!


Nolan Martin : Hello and welcome to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. My name is Nolan Martin, excited that you are here, kicking it over to Aram to introduce our guests.

Aram Donigian : Thanks Nolan. Folks, today we have Nicole Posner, who is a Communication Conflict expert, empowering leaders and business owners to minimize conflict through more effective communication. Nicole supports her clients to successfully navigate difficult conversations with confidence and finesse to create harmonious and thriving workplaces. As an author, consultant, coach, trainer, and accredited workplace mediator, Nicole has an interest in the psychology of conflict combined with extensive experience in communications following a background in public relations.

She is the author of ‘And Breathe...: Prevent, Manage and Master Difficult Leadership Conversations in Business and Beyond!’ as well as many other articles on communication and workplace conflict in various publications. Nicole was voted Communication and Conflict consultant of the year in the Greater London Enterprise Awards 2022. And in 2021 she was included in the Brains 500 global list. As well as in 2020, Nicole was a finalist in the UK's national Mediation Awards. Nicole lives in London with her husband, Julian. She is proud to have three sons, three stepchildren, four grandchildren, and two dogs. Thank you Nicole for joining us today.

Nicole Posner : Thank you so much for that introduction. Lovely to be here. Chatting to you both.

NM : Thanks Nicole. So you've always had quite a professional as well as personal journey. 20 years ago, did you see yourself where you are today and what was it that brought you into the field of communication and conflict management?

NP : Yeah, well it has been quite a journey and absolutely I had no idea that I would end up where I am today. I mean, I'm sure we sort of all had our stories, but..

AD : [laughs]

Uncovering The Healing Potential Of Mediation In Toxic Work Environments (02:57)

NP : I think I started this journey about 35 odd years ago, working in PR as you pointed out before. And, it was a very toxic workplace. If you know anything about the PR industry, it's sort of quite glamorous and fun, but you know, it's a tough place to be, you know, the expectations of you, the long hours, the weekends, you know, you give blood and treated, you know, like, you are lucky to be there.

So, it was pretty tough. And that's quite important to this part of the story because I had a managing director that used to walk a lot, sort of along the corridor after us calling us. I don’t know if I can use this word, so bleep out if I can't. Just calling us effing [inaudible] as we ran down the corridor after us, if we made a mistake and that was always something that, you know, resonated with me.

But in those days, HR were there to hire and fire. They weren't there for somebody to go to complain to about how we'd been treated. Anyway, fast forward a number of years, I got married at an early age, 26 and my husband at the time said to me, look, you know, it's marriage or your career here. And I said, okay, I better make the right choice here. Left there, set up my own sort of marketing business for writing, with all the communication skills I learned now. But I realized that I needed more. Unfortunately, the marriage didn't work by three amazing boys and after a number of years I decided to study psychology just as a human interest, a hobby. And I did that for about six years. Learned way too much about myself in that time.

You know, things I should use, sort think Whoa, whoa. And at the end of that I thought, you know, it came to a natural end. It was a weekly study group. I thought I'd love to do something with this, but I don't want to go back into full-time education. I still have my young boys at the time, so what can I do to incorporate this? And I found this online distant learning course and one of the modules on there was mediation. And, it really kind of resonated with me because I thought I'm a problem solver, you know, I like people, I like solving problems. And that really sort of jumped out at me. because unlike a lot of therapies or other sort of things you can do, mediation is within a timeframe, a short defined timeframe, usually to reach a conclusion or a finite end.

And I'm quite an impatient person. I like all that. So I decided to train to be a mediator. And it was taught from the psychology of conflict, which tied in with my study of psychology. And after I did that, I remembered back to my days in PR, which was a very toxic workplace. I thought, you know what, I'd really like to take this a step further. The mediation training I'd had was fairly diverse training, but it was mainly about business and IP and money. And what really resonates with me is people relation. Relationships with people and within the workplace particularly, took me back to my PR days. I thought that's where my focus is. So I trained to be a mediator. And from all the mediations I did, this is very long-winded answer to questions.

AD : [laugh] That's great.

NP : Basically from all the mediations I did, I realized that a lot of the conflict that happens here is because leaders don’t know how to have those difficult conversations there. And so it was, nothing got sorted. It was avoided, it was bypassed, it was dealt with badly. So I trained to be a coach to help manage the leaders, have those difficult conversations. And from that I then trained, do training as well. And now I consult. That's mainly what I do. So in answer to a very long-winded answer to your question, did I ever imagine 20 odd years ago I would be where I'm today? Absolutely not.

AD : It's a great answer.

NM : It's a great answer.

AD : Yeah. Because it gets to things I think that Nolan, myself and our listeners can identify with, right? The draw to problem solving, the draw to people. I think that if you're in this line of work, you have to, it's hard to not like people or at least be interested or curious about them. And then the recognition that, as kind of shocking as it might be, especially in 2023, maybe less so 20, 30 years ago, but that there's so many leaders who are still lacking in these skills. And the impact that has on the workplace conflict

NP : Absolutely.

AD : Enjoyed your book so much.

NP : Oh, thank you.

AD : It's a lovely book and I highly recommend and we'll make sure folks have a connection to reading it. It's divided into two parts, prevention and cure. I'm hoping that we can kind of discuss both of those ideas, concepts as we go along, Very similar in the same way that you do. And I would like to ask about the title, maybe start there. So you call it ‘And Breathe…’. Why'd you choose that title for a book about difficult conversation?

“And Breathe…” Finding Relief And Inner Control In Challenging Conversations (08:28)

NP : That's a great question actually. When I was working with the publishers on it and they said to me at the very beginning, you know, what do you want your readers to feel after they've read it? Where are they going to be at? And I thought, you know what, when you've had that conversation, you just want to feel relief. Oh, thank God it's over. And that was like, oh, and breathe. Thank God that was over. But also twofold in another way that when we prepare for conversations, you know, when you are quite tense and you sort of hold your breath and you are sort of in that state and you sort of say, “okay, breathe”. So, you know, and so that's how it, I thought that was quite a nice tie into how you feel before and how you feel afterwards. So that relief ‘And Breathe…’. So…

AD : There's so much on just kind of being in control of this, right? Which, and it does start with breathing in, breathing out. And so that's nice relief and prepare, dealing with a tension. We feel.

NP : Exactly.

NM : Love to follow up there. So you define a difficult conversation simply as a conversation that really matters. One that we really care about when the stakes are high, one where so much rest on that outcome. If these conversations are so important, why do we have such strong resistance to having them?

Confronting The Uncomfortable: Overcoming Fear And Building Skills For Difficult Conversations (09:49)

NP : Well, I think there are. Hmm, I mean, no one likes a difficult conversation, but there's normally, I would say there are four main reasons. One is fear, one is lack of skills, one is limiting beliefs, and one is that we never have enough time. And the irony of never having enough time is normally we end up spending way more time on it afterwards once it's manifested and become a bigger problem.

The lack of skills, and I'm sure we'll touch on this at some point, but there's a lot of new managers, for example, who are promoted into a leadership role and have never had any training to support that. Or even business owners or entrepreneurs who, you know, are new into running a business, but they've never had to manage people before. So they don't have people management skills.

The two I would focus on the most, I think I focus on the most, it's probably the fear that we have of these conversations and for everyone that will be different. So it might be fear of confrontation, fear of losing control, fear of losing, fear of judgment, fear of messing up the conversation, fear of, you know, pushback.

So, everybody is going to have their own fear. And then there are limiting beliefs, of course, which are based on, perhaps you've had a similar conversation in the past, it didn't go well. So your limiting belief is, well, it's not going to go well this time. It never does. Or, no one ever listens, or you know, I've tried to address this before and they don't listen, so what's the point? So I'd say those are probably the four main reasons, but those limiting beliefs and fear are the most prevalent.

AD : And as you look at those all, I guess all four of those that you mentioned, fear, limiting beliefs, the skill, and kind of this time issue, which by the way, I love how you framed that, which is when you don't deal with these conversations in the moment, they are going to take up more time in the long run. They don't magically disappear, the issues. or rarely do they probably magically disappear.

NP : No.

AD : I mean, are you actually able to coach and train clients around these things? And you kind of mentioned the top 2, do you spend more time on those two, fear and limited belief?

Mastering The Art Of Response: Creating Positive Chain Reactions In Conversations (12:19)

NP : Yeah. So I mean, the timing is obviously an awareness. People need to understand that, as you've pointed out. They're going to end up with a lot more time on it. But yes, you can coach people, but it all starts with awareness. So recognizing what are your fears? You know, as I said to you before, everyone is different. Everyone's, you know, if I have a fear of confrontation, you know, I'm going to shy away from that. But if you recognize what the fear is and you then have the tools to know how to deal with those fear, and you have other tools in your toolbox to help you manage yourself and the conversation, then yes, you can coach people around those things. Definitely, for sure.

AD : It's interesting on the fear, the, I feel like I see two extremes. I see the person who's afraid because, you know, fearful because it's very uncomfortable. And all the reasons you list. And then there's the person who's fearful because maybe it ties back to lack of skills. They know they're going to explode. And it's almost the explosive response to these conversations.

NP : We don't want that explosive.

So as we think about the nature of conflict in the workplace, why is it helpful for us to understand the expression, ‘every action creates a reaction.’

Sliding Doors Moments: The Power of Response Over Reaction in a Conversation (13:16)

NP : Well, just alluding back to your point Aram, it's that explosion. You know, we don't want those explosive responses. They don't help anybody. And I don’t know if you've ever saw ‘Sliding Doors’, did you ever see that? I call them these sliding doors moments where…

AD : I haven't no

NP : Great film with Gwyneth Paltrow. It's quite old. Anyway, so the the point of it is, you go down one road and it takes you in one direction and you go down another road and it takes you in a different direction. And this is the thing is, you know, you have a choice in how you respond. Do you react or do you respond in the situation?

A response is a more well considered and thought out way to react. But a reaction is going to cause a chain of events. It's going to cause, if I say something explosive to you, you are going to react with something explosive back. So that is why the way we respond is going to dictate how the conversation pans out.

AD : Going back to your title ‘And Breathe…’ right, which is that moment, however long that breathing is probably determines whether I'm responding in a way that's going to be intentional, maybe move us in a constructive way versus maybe the reaction and trigger, a number of change events that we don't want.

NP : Yeah. It's sort of the power of the pause, isn't it? You know, just take a second and think, is this going to be helpful to the direction of the conversation here and in the moment, you know, let's be honest, unless we're aware of it in the moment or unless we have the skills. And I'd just like to add here, you know, I'm still a work in progress even with all this stuff. I know [laugh], you know, sometimes I have to check in with myself

AD : Well, shoot, shoot, Nicole, we wouldn't have had you on if we hadn't thought you were perfect.

NP : Oh!

AD : And had mastered it all. [laugh]. We can appreciate that.

NP : I've had moments. But the the point is, yes, even with a lot of knowledge and skills and wisdom, you know, in the moment we all, you know, we have to check in with ourself and, you know, how, helpful is, how does that serve us by, you know, responding in that way.

AD : We're going to talk business conflict a little bit. I know that you work with a lot of clients there and, what personally, you know, the personal conflict in our lives too, certainly we'll get to some on that. You work with clients from a lot of different industries. What do you see as some of the greatest sources of conflict within businesses? And as a kind of second question to that, you know, what have you seen in terms of how the pandemic and now post pandemic environment. What's that done to either ease or further exasperate, those sort of issues?

Personality Clashes And Team Dynamics: Resolving Conflict In The Workplace (16:05)

NP : The kind of things that I think create conflict within businesses, are change is a very big one. When a business is going through a change and transformation, because while as leaders or business owners, we might know what's going on in the business, it's quite unsettling for other people if they're not in the know or if they just don't like change. So, transition and change is a big conflict trigger and how that's managed. Then you have people dynamics. You know, we don't choose the people we work with unless, you know, you're a business, it's your own business and you choose your business partner. But generally in the workplace, you turn up for work and you work with people that, and not everyone is going to get on that. That's just the way of the world. And if you think how many hours a week you work with somebody, if you have a personality clash and that's not managed well, that is going to create conflict.

Bringing in new management. So again, if a company's going through change, they might bring in new people to help, you know, the transition of the business. But equally, let's say an example is if you are, say a small business, an SME and, you might have, I don't know, 10, 15 employees, but you want to focus on expanding the business yourself and you bring in, a middle management to take over, you know, some of the day-to-day stuff, the employees who would normally have had direct access to you suddenly don't have direct access to you.

So there's that sort of conflict where, well, you know, I feel like I've been pushed aside, you know, I can't speak to you anymore. And how that's managed can, can dictate how well that process and that, you know, onboarding of that new manager is. So that's always quite a big one.

Then you have silos. So team, you know, one arm of the business has no idea what the other arm's doing and they're working on projects independently, which impact, you know, bigger picture, you know, marketing department might be preparing a whole marketing plan for a new product launch, but in fact product development is way behind on schedule. So they're doing something over here, but in fact, you know, the product is two months away and marketing are ready to go.

It's, you know, those sort of, complete lack of communication. Then we have new systems and processes. So new technology in a business. You have, you know, perhaps an older generation who are used to doing something a certain way and you bring in, you know, with AI now and new systems and things, you see a lot of resistance to that. And people don't like being told they have to do something when they think the old way is working very well. Cross-function reporting. So you have people reporting into different departments or different bosses and that always creates a bit of friction as well because everyone thinks their work's more important.

NM : Absolutely. I think there's a lot of different things that you highlight there that can cause a lot of friction among teams and I know that Aram and I have definitely seen that throughout our military careers and even through our clients. So thank you for highlighting that.

I know that you spent a great deal of time helping people work on how they communicate. What is it though, that about communication, whether it's the preferred style, cultural differences, expressions, gestures, even the modality that makes awareness around communication so critical to understanding conflict?

Gaining Insights Through Perspective And Awareness: Unveiling The Impact Of Our Communication (19:45)

NP : I think first of all, it's important to say, you know, awareness is key to the way we communicate. We often don't tap into that, you know, we just do communication. So first of all, I think our style, you know, how do we say things, our intonation, our delivery, our, you know, emphasis, whether we are too direct, too subtle, you know, I always, there's a story, in fact, I included my book about two subtle communication where a leader business owner who asked his manager to talk to one of the employees about how he, you know, a performance issue.

And the manager said, yes sure I will deal with it. And a few days later, the leader bumped into this particular employee and said, you know, how are things going? You know, did you speak to Joe? Whatever his name was the other day? He said, yes. He said, how's that conversation? He said, yeah, it went well. He said, I don't really know what he was talking about, but he just talked about the rules of tennis and that, you know, the analogy of trying to talk about the rules of tennis, are pro quo, whatever their issue was. But that is the, you know, the too subtle approach. He had no idea what he was talking about.

So then we have, you know, the way we deliver information, you know, if you bombard people with information, you know, all in one hit. I also talk about broadcasting out, you know, I don’t know if you've heard of that concept where you talk at people but you don't receive information back. So that's, you know, a one-way dialogue as it were.

Then, you know, our voice, our intonation, the emphasis we put on things when somebody says, I'm not angry, [laugh], or, you know, they very clearly are very angry at that moment.

And then, you know, the different modalities, you know, written, that's always a very delicate thing, the way we write, you know, with so many different, we're all very impatient now with, you know, emails we are keyboard warriors and sometimes we don't give enough awareness to how our messages are being received, you know, we'll send what we think is a fairly normal email or whatever, and it's, you know, a five line email, but we don't know how that other person is experiencing that or receiving that because we don't have the visuals, we don't have the eye contact, we don't have, you know, the voice.

And so that's something that we all need to be more focused on and aware of. And then, you know, cultural differences in communication as well. You know, what might be acceptable in one culture is completely unacceptable in another. So we need to be aware and understand perspective as well, what, how whatever we are doing or saying is being experienced and received.

NM : What have you seen as like best practices to become more self-aware to doing this? Because I don't think everybody's as fortunate to be able to have such an awesome coach as yourself. To be able to walk us through this. So what's like a good tip for someone to become more self-aware?

The Pitfalls Of Modern Communication And Conflict In The Digital Age (22:53)

NP : I think if you notice that you are getting a bit of pushback or you are continually having more difficult conversations, for me that's quite a red flag. You know, I know I do this for a living, so that's obvious. But if you find yourself constantly, you know, like this at loggerheads with people or constantly finding that you are having these draining conversations or exchange of messaging, that should be, you know, a bit of a telltale sign that actually, I need to maybe think about this. Is this working, this serving me well, how, how effective is the way I communicate?

NM : Absolutely. I think something to kind of add to that is in something that's helped me through, my military and even my civilian career is having a trusted agent, someone that I know, whether it's an employee, whether it's a team member that can, that I could go to to be like, Hey, am I missing the mark? And able to have those real truthful conversations and prepare for me to get some constructive criticism and be able to take that and operate it. So yeah. Thank you. Thank you, Nicole for sharing.

NP : You know, on that point, there has to be self-awareness to go and seek that trust or to, you know, have the, I guess the intuition that you need to have that trusted friend, you know, to seek feedback, you have to be self-aware in the first place. I think

AD : My style, my delivery, my tone, even my own cultural preference there's so much wrapped up in who I am. if I'm a mid-level manager, I may very well not be aware of those things without somebody being….

NP : Pointing it out.

AD : So that point about awareness, and then I would assume, I mean, certainly when you get to modality, all these things exasperated by the world as it is now, versus even just the world five years ago, you know, whether it's remote work or hybrid work nature, or so much more done, serious work done by text or chat or email. And then you'd mentioned, you know, the role of AI, I mean, so there's just, it feels like there's so much more room for these things to be problematic.

The Lost Art of Conversation: Perils and Misinterpretations of Quick-Fire Communication Methods (25:17)

NP : Hundred percent. I mean, you know, years ago, I often talk about this. There is something that we use every day. It's called a telephone, but people seem to have forgotten how to use it. You know, it's like my kids look at me now and I say, they say, I need to send so and so a message. And I'm saying, well phone them. And they're like, right, you know, what do you mean phone them [laugh]?

So, you know, we forget that the art of conversation is lost. You know, we rely on these quick fix or quickfire methods of communication. Because we're all very impatient and there's so much option for us now, but the opportunities are far greater for creating conflict within the way we communicate now. You know, I don't know if, for example, you use WhatsApp. Do you use WhatsApp?

AD : I do, yeah.

NP : Yeah. So, you know, you get the two blue ticks if you've, the message has been read and you know, that creates so much conflict, those two blue ticks, because, you know, someone might have read your message and you can see they've read it, but they haven't replied, you know, maybe until the next day. Right? And, you know, it's like, why not, you know, [laugh]. But if you just, because there's that expectation you read and not reply, we, you know, the RRNR we call it. So, you know, there are so many things that, opportunities that, these modules of communication now create, right? Using humor as well in messaging can often be lost, or the interpretation of a message can be lost so easily. Because as I mentioned before, you know, we can't see, if I make a joke and you don't know me and I've sent you a message, you might think, well, that was very rude, or that was inappropriate, or whatever. So, you know, with facial cues or when you can hear someone's voice, there's, you know, you get so much more from that rather than the keyboard warriors and everything else. So.

NM : Hey everyone, Nolan here. I have to jump in and end today's podcast for part A of this show. Be sure to rate, review and subscribe to the NEGOTIATEx podcast if you haven't already. And also join us next week for part B of this awesome interview.

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