The Conference Blueprint – Part 2; Roles and Partners

The Conference Blueprint – Part 2; Roles and Partners

Who owns the tracker owns the conference.

We look at how to build a solid conference with real meaning. Giving away our FREE conference blueprint.

In Part 1 of this Conference Blueprint series, we described how important it was to know why you are holding a conference and choosing and sticking to a super-objective.

In Part 2, we look at how to best ensure that what you plan will actually happen. As the old saying goes, there is ‘many a slip twixt cup and lip’. Or as we prefer to say, somewhat tongue-in-cheek as a conference approaches, what can possibly go wrong?

We all know that the answer is quite a lot but keeping it in mind is as good an insurance policy as any. Mmmm, insurance. Now there’s another thing – perhaps for another day.

The Core Design Team

The one thing most likely to create a successful outcome at your conference, is a tight design and execution team. Small, (4 or 5 maximum) with the decision-making authority and the recognition that they are ultimately accountable to the key sponsor or conference owner.

This team, although it will consult and communicate with a wide range of stakeholders and internal and external partners, is best served if the accountability rests firmly with them and that everyone recognizes their authority. We have all heard the somewhat derogatory ‘designed by committee’ when things don’t go well, but rather than overly complicated multiple layers of authority, making decision-making unwieldy, instead make sure the steering co is few in number and with a clear vested interest in the success of the event. It’s a great opportunity for inexperienced leaders to step up.

External Partners in Conferences

It isn’t advisable to produce large events without skilled partners and we have been invited to design and deliver conferences many times in the past where the opening conversation has started something like this. “We produced the whole thing internally last time …never again!”

This isn’t true for everyone and there is no doubting the richness of the conference experience when an in-house team creates and executes a fabulous conference, but by and large, trusted partners really can and do help.

Trusted is the key word here and whilst recognising that significant budgets are at play, don’t be tempted to micro-manage your partners, but instead place your trust in them and keep communication frequent and at a good level of detail. It pays to check and double check of course, but let that responsibility lie with the partner.

There are one or two watch outs here. Once you are comfortable with your choice of partners, be very clear when providing the brief.

Avoid cross-over. If an external partner and an internal function both think they are responsible for the afternoon session on day 2, well it’s going to take some time to sort out who is doing/creating/providing what. Mind you, better that than nobody being responsible at all.

Beware scope creep. It is very tempting for external companies to suggest themselves for additional services, when perhaps it isn’t their core offering. The phrase to listen out for is “We can do that as well if you like…” If it wasn’t part of the original discussions, there’s probably a good reason.

Although it was painful at the time, we are forever grateful for the advice from a CEO we have worked with for many years. He advised us, after a particularly huge event had over-stretched our capability, to make a list of what we don’t do, as well as what we do. It’s been very helpful on a number of occasions, especially when clients ask late in the process if we can ‘create a few slides’. We’ve learnt to say a kind but firm no to that one.

Lastly, on the partner front, don’t be tempted to bargain by playing partners off against each other. Although it may seem a reasonable negotiation tactic, it doesn’t help to build relationships over the long term. The very last thing you want is one or more partners feeling disenfranchised when you drop or replace their services in favour of another.

If it’s possible, when the negotiating and contractual matters are out of the way, bring all the partners together and brief them on the super-objective as well as the execution. In our experience, every team works best together if they know not just what they are doing but why. If food and beverage know what the producers are trying to achieve and why the facilitation or presentation team require changes in the usual routine, it helps if they have already built a working relationship.

Keeping the event organisation under control

And so on to The Master Tracker! Every team knows the one person who possesses zen-like understanding of spreadsheets (hint – in this instance it is not the author of this article) and every team needs that person.

Each partner organization will have their own specific ways of being able to report on what is ready, what is in-progress and what hasn’t yet started. They are also unlikely to be of much use to each other. When we work with our preferred production partner, MCL, for example, we feel comfortable that they have their complex technical documents covering every piece of staging/lighting/sound equipment etc., but if they show it to us, quite frankly it gives us a headache.

What we really need to know is that the frontline for the band is booked and fits their spec and that they can rehearse from 6pm. What each player wants to know is that everything they need is in its place.

A Purple Monster detailed running order shows the flow of the delegate experience and is a perfect facilitator’s guide to who is doing what when, but it isn’t useful for those in charge of logistics or for food and beverage. So, someone has to be able to track the big picture.

For each moving part of the conference, one individual should have the role of reporting its status and recording it on the master spreadsheet or tracker.

The logistics company are keeping it up to date with hotel rooms, transport, visas etc; internal supply chain are reporting on product displays; Purple Monster are liaising with executive assistants for rehearsal scheduling and an external agency has booked the dancing dog.

Okay, we must admit, we’ve never booked a dancing dog, but we live in hope.

The key factor is that someone, a special someone, must be that single point of accountability and know just how each and every moving part fits in and where it’s up to. It is, I’m afraid, one of the many thankless tasks of a conference. That said, any self-respecting conference would remember to thank them at the end.
Finally – there are two things we know to be absolutely true. Pretty much every conference we have ever played a part in follows these two strict rules.

1. Despite everything pointing to the contrary and no matter how many times the deadline is stressed to the presenters, the final power point slides will not be ready until … about 10 minutes before the start of the conference.

2. Nothing ever goes totally to plan, so you will need a contingency budget and a mindset that is always open to change. Always expect the unexpected.

Over the years we have had many things disrupt the perfectly planned conference. CEO running accidents, travel chaos, power-cuts, wet weather, hot weather, hot and wet weather and the delivery of a pop-up princess castle in error. There are many things that can disrupt your conference, but a tight team with committed and trusted partners can overcome …anything.

While you're here...

Do you want to get people talking more openly and honestly? Our conversation card activity is a fun way to do just that!

Conference Blueprint – Part 1; Why even have a conference?

Conference Blueprint – Part 1; Why even have a conference?

The Conference Super-Objective

We look at how to build a solid conference with real meaning. Giving away our FREE conference blueprint.

As soon as the idea of a conference makes it onto an executive plan, it immediately triggers a series of questions. This prompts the owner or sponsor, to find an individual or group of people to supply the answers.

The list is not a short one and it can be overwhelming, especially if this is your first time and your conference has a lot of moving parts.

Where is it?
When is it?
Who is speaking?
What’s the budget?
How many attendees?
Which parts of the business?

And so on. That’s before we’ve even begun to consider content.

If somewhere in this picture is you, then read on, as we create a short Purple Monster series on The Conference Blueprint.

We’re going to prioritise the questions, first on the list, is one that sometimes seems to be forgotten and yet we believe it to be the most important. We call it the Super-Objective, but it might be more simply expressed as…

“Why are you having a conference?”

The term ‘Super-Objective’ is borrowed from Constantin Stanislavsky’s ‘An Actor Prepares’. The Russian theatre practitioner used it to describe a character’s through line, the one goal or objective that drives them through the whole play and is more important than any other motivation.

At the start of planning a conference, you need to know what it is. The challenge of course is finding out what it is in the first place and then aligning everyone else to it. However, be assured that the very best conferences are not a series of bits and pieces loosely tied together, but instead a carefully constructed journey that is heading towards that one goal.

One of the key challenges is that the moment you mention a conference, everybody wants a piece of it. There are many different reasons. Some see an opportunity to get their crucial project in front of everyone; others to make an impact with senior management; others because …well because they’ve been told to by someone else.

Whatever the reason, if you’re part of the organizing effort, expect folk to come out of the woodwork, right up to and including the day of the conference.

Chip and Dan Heath in their book ‘Made to Stick’ share a great story that examples this. When Jeff Hawkins led the Palm Pilot team, to ensure an elegant design and avoid ‘feature creep’, he carried around a piece of wood, exactly to size and when an engineer suggested a new feature that needed an additional port, he asked them where it would go on the already allocated space on his wooden block.

You might wish to do a similar thing with the conference plan in order to avoid ‘conference creep’ .

Sitting under the super objective are the other ideals you would like the conference to bring home. These ‘objectives’ should sit within your content. You want great content; well written, well prepared, well rehearsed and engaging.

Firstly, don’t have too much. If you drown the audience in content, they will remember none of it. If it’s just information you could have sent in an email, then you are not doing your delegates any favours.

Secondly, each objective must still lead to the Super-Objective. They are signposts on the way to the end goal. If it’s a new operating model, then ‘ways of working’ is a good fit and will still drive you in the right direction.

We had an example recently of a senior leader trying to shoe-horn a piece of content into the conference, where it didn’t belong. Although the topic was perfectly fine, it didn’t contribute to the Super-Objective. It was like watching a film be interrupted by the commercials, rather than a great bit of sub-plot adding to the narrative.

We’ll cover many other aspects of the conference blueprint as we progress this mini-series, but we wanted to finish with measurement. How do you know the conference has been a success? Well this is where the Super-Objective is very helpful.

Instead of sending out post-event surveys that prompt questions like:
Was the catering to your liking? Or
Did the guest speaker
a) Disappoint
b) Satisfy requirements or
c) Exceed expectations?, you can ask more open questions, yet specific.

“Do you know why we held the conference?”

“What difference has the conference made to your attitude and behaviour?”

If you have carefully planned what the delegate journey looks like and you can point to all the key moments in which the Super-Objective was hammered home with impact, then you can be confident that the delegates will respond in the way you would like them to.

The conference was worthwhile and of value.

Although surveys and word of mouth reporting are good indicators, what you really want to measure is the business impact. We’ll discuss in the next article the idea of what delegates might think feel and do, but as far as the conference through line is concerned, it must make a difference to business results in some way.

You may be looking for better engagement scores or better productivity; a shift in D&I thinking that results in more women in the boardroom; an increase in retention figures or simply more people phoning each other. Whatever you decide, having this clear goal/mission/Super-Objective will make a real difference and make it measurable.


Getting people to really understand the bigger picture

Getting people to really understand the bigger picture

Getting people to really understand the bigger picture.

The summer holidays are well under way here in the UK, but the next academic year is already looming.
We’d like to take this opportunity to look back at some of our work from the last 12 months. A show and tell perhaps? An end of term review? You get the idea…

One of our high growth areas is the visual side of our business. It’s no surprise really, because a common challenge large organisation have is getting people to fully understand and engage with where the organisation is going.

Being able to show it all in one big picture is an attractive and engaging way to do just that.

So as you are sat reading this, watching the desks slowly empty for the summer, the out of offices being turned on, you may be pondering what 2019-20 will look like for you and your organisation. You could write a list of goals, set targets, send everyone an email asking them to do the same…But we all know that’s probably not going to do the trick…
especially as the majority of the workforce are currently swapping laptops for flip flops and trying to cram an oversized beach towel into their carry-on luggage…

So here, in true end of term awards assembly style, are our top three articles on how you can achieve employee understanding of the future state through the use of engaging strategic visuals. Recommended by us for a bit of summertime reading (before you finally make a start on the best seller you got for Christmas.)

First up, we explore the effective use of one central visual and how we build on that to create a really useful tool that makes your engagement efforts scalable….Conveniently entitled ‘Making your engagement efforts scalable’…some great content, but sadly no merit points for the title.

Second in our top three is a piece of creative writing about a carpet cleaner…no, seriously it is…and it is also about our experience of taking complex strategic information and simplifying it by using visuals, breaking down the complicated messages into simple easy to understand points.

And winning with our golden star award is our article from way back in April…

‘Do we know where we are going?! Bringing your organisations’ vision to life’ where we look at the power of visuals to not only bring the company vision to life but take everyone on that journey with you….

So if you are not on annual leave with your paper back novel, kindle or downloaded podcasts to listen to, then please sit back at your desk and enjoy these reads.

If you like the idea of collectively agreeing a future vision but you’re not sure how much people will speak up, then you need to dive into our ‘Powerful Conversations’ Series…


Unleash your conversation superpower!

To Conclude…How to have better conversations

To Conclude…How to have better conversations

Our final thoughts on ‘Having better conversations’. 

If anyone has been following our mini-series on communication, well first of all, thanks and well done. This is part 5, which is basically a reminder of the first 4 parts and then …well…some concluding thoughts. A close. A finish. An ending of sorts. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

It’s fair to say that in 100% of organizations that we have worked with, there is always an identified need to ‘improve communication’. Sometimes it’s a survey finding, sometimes it’s anecdotal evidence from staff that they are ‘the last to know’ or managers trying to guess what people are thinking and talking about. We have NEVER, in almost 25 years of work, come across a company that thinks it’s got their communication totally right. It isn’t about size either, as we know, having had our fair share of communication challenges in our very small team of monsters.

We don’t believe there is an easy solution to the problem of poor communication, but what we do believe is that by placing a focus on it, improvements can be made. In our mini-series (which has not been shown on Netflix) we suggested four areas for applying practise to improve matters.

1.Focus on Being Human


Recognize that there is an art to having conversations and encourage them. They are the fundamental building blocks of relationships. We have offered you our Thumb Folk cards as simple conversation starters and if you haven’t already received your pack then request a set here.
The cards are just a simple way to start meeting conversations, but you have to set time aside for them to happen. So many meetings and interactions start with the transactional, rather than the relational.
Recognize that there is an art to having conversations and encourage them. They are the fundamental building blocks of relationships. We have offered you our Thumb Folk cards as simple conversation starters and if you haven’t already received your pack then click on the link immediately and do so.

2. Build Trust


Trust – it’s so foundational to communication, that if it breaks down, so does the project, the team or even the whole organization. There’s an industry of therapists and counsellors working on trust in relationships, but there should be the same in business, not just marriages. It can be very costly, both emotionally and materially, when trust is broken.

We have recommended our favourite tool, the Trust Equation, but there are many more to explore. We also love the metaphor of the savings account, where each trusted or trusting transaction places a small deposit on the partner balance sheet. If you build up a trusting relationship, then the account is in credit, is healthy and can even withstand an unexpected withdrawal if things don’t go to plan. Put your trust in others and see it repaid with their trust in you.


3. Consider how to approach the conversation


It’s critical to read the signs and indicators of what people are thinking and feeling, before during and after conversations. We spoke a little in part three about body language and also the concept of allyship.

Being sensitive to other’s thoughts and feelings is a key component to successful communication and especially anticipating and preparing difficult conversations. If you can gauge the mood and set the right tone, you really are half-way there. In our experience it’s also worth remembering that the idea of difficult conversations is always worse than the reality.

You can also practice them, with a friend or colleague perhaps, but try not to rehearse them only in your mind – your imagination is a powerful tool and will rarely paint an accurate picture. Don’t put off the difficult conversation either, it will only loom larger on the horizon.

4. Following up


If you really do open the floodgates of communication, what do you do with the torrent? How do you manage the flow of ideas and suggestions?

We shared the success of the simple ‘You said, we did’ model. We also discussed the option of ‘Champions’ groups and the capture and playback of employee voices. The rule of thumb here (see what I did there Ed.) is follow up on it.

Never set expectations that you can’t reach, but if you have promised to take peoples’ ideas and share them more widely, then you better had. In a way, this is the measure of communication success and the benchmark. You’ve placed emphasis on communication, you’ve placed trust in the teams; you’ve employed empathy and understanding and done a great job of listening and now there are multiple communication channels which are trusted by everyone to provide up to date information and opinion. Brilliant.



Actually, there is no 5. It’s the other 4 and then some, but doesn’t get an article on its own. Instead, you get a closing argument. Here it is.

In a recent visit, that she has written about more than once, Danielle experienced the kind of culture where communication is valued. She said that she knew it was going to be a warm, friendly, open sort of company, where people would go out of their way to communicate. At what point did she know this? In the car park. I think it’s fair to assume that most car parks would have visitors’ bays, but the ones at Moneypenny HQ in Wrexham have them accompanied with a heart. They’re not afraid of telling their customers that they love them, and their communication skills exude authenticity, not robotic or learnt responses. They chat, they ask questions, are interested and curious about your answers and happy to tell you anything and everything about their story.

This hasn’t happened by accident, but very much by design and if you’d like to know more about their organization, look here.

Incidentally, when we visited the website yesterday to copy the link, we had a quick chat with one of the customer service representatives who thanked us for sharing their company website. Of course they did.

More than anything, to encourage quality communication to flourish, you need to make it ok to communicate. Conversations need to be encouraged and time found for them. There should be no penalties for asking obvious or difficult questions of leadership. The very opposite, they must be welcomed with open arms, open doors and an open invitation. That means that ample time and space must be found for them and leaders need to lead by example.

To be a widely respected and effective communicator takes a lot of practice. To be in an organization that is acknowledged to be great at communication, requires not just individual practise, but also a relentless dedication to creating the right conditions for communication to flourish. If you’re in one of those – please let us know, as we’d love to have a chat.

Unleash your conversation superpower!

You said…we did!

You said…we did!

Having powerful conversations; Demonstrating you’ve listened

So if you’ve been following our mini-series (and who doesn’t these days?) on Communication, you’ll know we’ve reached episode 4 out of 5. In the first three, we’ve helped you do all the right things. You’ve built strong connections and relationships; you’ve created an environment where people feel comfortable raising ideas and challenges and you’ve been positive and inclusive in your approach. Communication is rich and frequent, and ideas are free flowing, so what can possibly go wrong?

Well …. now you have TOO MANY ideas and opinions and you are going to have to say no to some. Some contradict each other, some have unrealistic budgets and some, well, some have obviously been offered up to test the boundaries of what is really possible.

However, this is crunch time. In an environment of better conversations you have to be able to listen to the conversations that are being had but then also respond in a way which even if the answer is no, the recipient still feels that their input is valued even if the specific recommendation isn’t to be actioned.

You have to demonstrate that the process of getting people to open up, talk to each other more and put themselves out there has been worthwhile.

The classic method of doing this is ‘You said…We did’. If many frameworks and feedback methodologies seem complicated, you have to love the language of ‘You said – We did’. There’s little opportunity for misinterpretation. However, whilst it is a seemingly simple methodology, as anyone who has run an employee survey will tell you, putting this into action is complicated and time consuming. Without it however, it is almost as bad, if not even worse than not asking for input in the first place.

This is very common and is called ‘You said ….we pretty much ignored you’. Less catchy and culturally dissatisfying.

Unleash your conversation superpower!

If you are wondering what techniques you can use in order to feedback effectively then here are a selection of tools and approaches we have used in the past.

1. Individual Replies

Probably the most powerful but also the biggest commitment. When engagement is very low or even negative then this is the way to go. It demonstrates your commitment to listening and responding. We did this once after a set of change workshops which resulted in over 1,000 comments. Every single one was answered individually with information on whether the suggestion was being adopted and if not, why not.
Although a mammoth team effort, the appreciation from employees was astounding and this single activity probably accelerated adoption of this particular change by months.

2. Employee Engagement Champions

If you have a new strategy or change programme to manage, then another way to promote quality conversations and add value is by building networks of employees committed to the change. In order to make this work it is important that the people forming these networks are given all the tools they need to do it well. This generally falls into two parts; Knowledge and skills.

In order to feel confident about talking to people then they have to know not just what is going on but also why. So the first part is to get the story straight and make sure it is simple to share. Share as much knowledge as you can around the strategy, the roll-out plans or anything else which is relevant for high quality conversations with wide groups of employees. Similarly they need equipping with particular skills – listening, empathy, coaching, basically building good relationships and being prepared to cope with more challenging conversations.

Investment in these networks can dramatically enhance the quality of conversations people have and therefore how invested they are but they do need support and need to be constantly updated by the programme. Change could fail more quickly if the champions are neglected.

3. Employee Voice Playback

Stories are a very powerful way of sharing the output of multiple conversations and there is no better communication tool than a story well shaped and well told.

Capturing verbatim what people have said and crafting that into audio or video is one way. By using real employee examples and playing them back in an engaging way, the case for change is most credible. This is not ‘management’ invention, but true-to-life stories from within the business. We have seen this done particularly well when audio is used rather than ‘talking heads’ videos. Firstly, by using voiceover artists you can ensure anonymity and audio only leaves space for the imagination of the listener to bring the stories to life in their head.

The key though is making sure that the overall sentiment is reflected in the stories that are chosen. If feedback is balanced, then take care to include a good mix of the positive and negative. Conversely, if the sentiment is predominantly negative don’t be tempted to whitewash the results and reflect the reality, even when senior management would prefer you not to! The test is that if employees listened to that playback, would they feel it is an accurate reflection of the environment they work in.

There are of course, many more ways of reflecting conversations and we have focused here on the mechanisms we have seen used particularly well. In general, the more creative the playback, the more impact they tend to have. You will be better served by visual impact and fun thematic media than you will by a group email. Whatever method you use, the intent has to be honourable and the methodology transparent. As we discussed previously, the Trust Equation determines that Self-Orientation is a destroyer of trust and paying lip service to listening to conversations is self-orientation at play. We would encourage you to listen to what people are saying with an open mind and be willing to adapt and change in response to that feedback. This may mean saying no to an idea, but if it is said with integrity and comes with an explanation, then that is more acceptable in the long run than any attempt to fudge what was said.

Finally, if you are facing the mammoth task of coordinating and sharing feedback from workshops and are wondering if it might be better not to, just remember that instead of the satisfaction of ‘You Said…We Did’ you will most likely get ‘we said …you didn’t …we’re not trusting you ever again’!

Interested in building a culture of trust?

Finding the right words for Powerful Conversations

Finding the right words for Powerful Conversations

Having powerful conversations; Finding the right words

Having high quality conversations in the workplace allow people to develop ideas more readily, collaborate better to achieve higher performance and build relationships that go past the transactional.

We have explored two concepts so far in how to foster higher quality conversations in the workplace (human connection and building an environment of trust) and this is a third; Using the right words.

Years ago when Purple Monster was only a very young monsterlet (what’s a baby monster called?) we were fortunate enough to meet Peter Searles – a great raconteur and actor who had us enthralled when watching him point out what people were doing physically with their gestures, posture and body language during a role play that two actors were performing.

It set us off down the road of investigating Professor Mehrabian’s famous (and as we shall see, often misquoted) 1967 study around likeability. You know the one – where 55% of an individual’s communication is influenced by the Body Language they use, 38% is in the tone and 7% is in the words. Well just to eliminate any misunderstanding here is what the Professor actually said 40 years after his initial experiments:

“Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking.

Please note that this and other equations regarding relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e., like–dislike). Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable”.

Mehrabian, Albert (2009). 

“Silent Messages” – A Wealth of Information About Nonverbal Communication (Body Language)”.

In other words, you can’t apply this to everything around communication just because it’s a neat statistic. Maybe what you say, and how you say it, is important after all. Of course it is. It always was. Don’t believe everything you read, or hear, or say.
So if how and what you say is important then we have to be thoughtful and intentional with our choice of words. We also have to be conscious of how we choose to say something and indeed when and where we say it.

Later in this series around conversations we will be discovering the importance of having ‘difficult conversations’ but here, on the topic of the importance of the words we use, and how we use them we would like to consider the concept of ‘calling in’.
Very recently we were fortunate enough to play a key part in the design and delivery of two global seminars around being a good ally. We discussed Allyship and also what it means to be a support for someone every day.
Not for the first time we were fortunate to be working with someone who knows and lives Inclusion and Diversity with every fibre of her being and she introduced us to this concept of ‘calling in’.

Let’s imagine a scenario for a second. This might be tricky for some of you as we are deliberately overexaggerating this scenario for dramatic effect. Go with it.

Imagine a massive movie studio was updating all of its much loved animated classics and ‘upgrading‘ them to live action. Imagine that they cast an actor who was of a different ethnicity to that which was in the original cartoon. With us so far?

One day, in your office, someone casually makes a comment about what a big storm in a teacup this all is and how ‘it’s a bloody PC minefield out there’. You hear what they are saying and are extremely irritated, upset and angry at the stance that they are taking. What do you do now? The person is a colleague with similar qualifications and experience as you, they are well liked and respected in their work and it is in a public place.

The temptation might be to immediately jump into action and call out what you consider to be an unacceptable viewpoint and some people might agree with you. But it’s how you challenge the behaviour that is interesting and this is where ‘calling in’ comes in.

To quote Relationship coach, Mel Mariposa, “Call-ins are agreements between people who work together to consciously help each other expand their perspectives”. Now that’s a great concept isn’t it? Expanding our perspectives. Well we think so. So what’s the difference between calling someone out on something and calling it in. 


Calling in is ‘Can I have a quick word with you about something’

Let’s be honest here. Nobody likes to be told off in front of other people do they? It makes people defensive and that’s not the place to start ‘expanding our perspectives’. Mel Mariposa, the author of the blog, Polysingleish and co-founder of The Consent Crew has these thoughts on how to ‘call in’ and what to look out for when you do.


Which brings us right back to the beginning – you can’t just rely on body language and tone to get your message out. You have to use words. The words you use will help to determine the power that the conversation has. By calling someone out, in this example the response is likely to be emotion fueled and the point you were trying to make, lost. By using words which are thoughtful, objective and respectful then it is much more likely to result in a reflective response and potentially a change in future actions.

The words you choose and how you say them does make an awful lot of difference to how people hear and interpret what you say. Professor Mehrabian would agree. And, according to the Bee Gees, ‘words are all I have’. And who’s going to argue with them?

(Other songs with ‘Words’ in the title are available. Do please feel free to share your own favourite with )

Unleash your conversation superpower!

Our conversation card activity is a simple way to get people talking openly and freely without the cringe worthy ice-breaker.