Courageous Conversations with Nicole Posner

When we are Brave Podcast

Nicole Posner talks about:

  • Having courageous conversations can be full of fear and anxiety, Nicole Posner shares with us incredible tips and techniques on how we can have these difficult conversations and positively move through them so that we can live our best and bravest life.
  • Nicole started her career in PR 30 years ago. She found the environment to be quite toxic. Nicole knew that she could not continue in this career as she started her married life. There was a lot of bullying going on in the industry at the time and no procedures in place to prevent this behaviour as there would be today. She moved into a career in writing, focusing on speech writing, press released and marketing. Feeling a void in her life, she decided to study psychology. Where she learned a lot about herself and with a love of learning about people and why we do what we do, she continued on her learning path into counselling and came across mediation and Nicole had a lightbulb moment.
  • In mediation, there is a finite end to it, you can help people work through issues, so Nicole trained to become a mediator bring in her psychology and conflict interest together. With her interest in people, Nicole felt draw to workplace meditation.
  • Reflecting on her PR time, she realised how badly she had been treated and thought how beneficial someone in mediation would have been back then. She wanted to help people move forward.
  • She realised from her mediation work that she could do more to help people after the mediation with their communication skills.
  • When leaders are struggling themselves in life, particularly during covid, it’s hard for them to support their staff when they are feeling so low. Nicole provides some great tips and tools to help leaders, whether it’s community groups, teachers, religious groups or corporate roles. The first step in working through these challenging conversations is to normalise it. There are expectations that they always have all the answers, yet they are still human. Often leadership can be a lonely place; finding support around you can be a great benefit. Leaders don’t have to be stoic; it’s ok to show some vulnerability.
  • Nicole encourages leaders to share with their teams their own experiences; people can connect with you when you show your humanity.
  • But not just leaders and also friends, checking in with friends is a vital component of finding support around you, even when you’re having a hard time yourself. Connecting through conversations and sharing your most authentic self, showing your humanity, will stop the disconnect and bring about support.
  • You can be yourself and still a leader.
  • One of the most important things to remember is what your role is when sharing difficult news. Ask yourself why you are in the role you are in, and prepare yourself for your own needs before you go in and have a difficult conversation. Work out what you need yourself so that you turn up and be the best you can be in that situation.
  • What are some of the tools you need to make yourself in the best position to deliver the information? Know what you are going to say before you go in and have a courageous conversation.
  • When you are in the conversation, listening is one of the best tools. Don’t underestimate the power of silence. Don’t be afraid of silence. Allow others to let the information sink in.
  • Nicole encourages us to “Lead with HEART”.
    H – humility
    E – empathy
    A – authenticity
    R – Respect
    T – transparency
  • People can get very nervous when they are about to have a difficult conversation; fear can be a debilitating emotion. But when you remove the fear, there is nothing that you think you can’t do, which means that you will be willing to take more risks.
  • There are four things when you are facing a difficult conversation that can prevent you from having these conversations.
  • Fear: Fear of confrontation, fear of the outcome, fear of showing emotion, fear of judgement
    Lack of skills: might not be able to articulate, struggle to get works out, causing anxiety or frustration
    Limiting beliefs: such as thinking – this is going to be a waste of time, embarrassing, not sure how to have conversation’s
    Don’t have time
  • Try and first of all, understand which one of these top 4 points relates to you, once you identify which one it is you can address it. Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability. It can be very impactful.
  • The sooner you deal with the difficult conversation, the easier it will flow and happen. Afterwards, you will feel more empowers, happier.
  • A great tip to help you calm down, take yourself to your happy place, listen to some uplifting music, listen to your favourite podcasts, meditate, dance around the bedroom.
  • Approaching the conversation from a place of calm is far more powerful, and knowing the end game before you have the difficult conversation can help move the conversation and stay on track.
  • Listening doesn’t mean agreeing; it means you are giving them the space they need to have a voice.
  • If you are having a difficult conversation, and the listener is not understanding, ask a question back to them, how would you feel in my shoes?
  • If your not making headway in a conversation, it could be because they haven’t felt heard.
  • Remember the three stages of a difficult conversation:
  • RED zone – feelings of anger and frustration. Stop don’t push first, let the other person speak.
    AMBER zone – you’ve allowed them to speak. Now it’s your turn.
    GREEn zone – Good to go, both been heard.
  • When you start a tough conversation, let them speak first, let them offload, hear them, reframe what they have said. Tell them that you hear what you are saying and that you understand.
  • Questions are a great way to get people to start getting people to start thinking about a new perspective, such as: Can I ask you to consider my perspective?
  • In heated discussions, people often think by talking louder and louder their point will be heard. But the exact opposite is far more beneficial – speaking quietly and calmly, your voice will be heard with much more clarity.
  • NEVER USE THE WORD BUT – but means that you have not honestly heard nor understood them.

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