• Barnett Waddingham
    Barnett Waddingham
  • It’s time to talk (and listen!)

    By Cherry Williams, huunuu

    Having a conversation should be one of the most straightforward things we do. Have you ever left a chat feeling less than satisfied with yourself or the outcome?

    In the workplace both the physical and virtual one, it is easy to throw misunderstandings, resentments, emotional change and politics into the mix and suddenly when someone says, ‘Let’s have a chat,’ it can sound rather ominous.

    A recent poll by VitalSmarts that featured in Forbes Magazine found that:

    • More than 80% of workers were avoiding or dreading a conversation they considered scary at work.
    • The same study showed that 1 in 4 have managed to put off their conversation for 6 months and 1 in 10, for an entire year – that is a lot of distraction and avoidance!

    Having difficult conversations at work is a crucial skill in life. Often, we are presented with challenging circumstances in both our work and personal lives, so it is important to develop the key skills which support us in navigating these significant life events.

    So why don’t we?

    In the VitalSmarts report:

    • Lack of confidence was the number one reason, followed by:
    • Fear of consequences and repercussions and,
    • The culture of the workplace, not allowing it.

    Having a satisfying and rewarding conversation suddenly isn’t so straightforward, but it can be if employees and employers alike are given the tools to grow their confidence in an open and supportive space. The benefits to workplace wellbeing will be worth it and these can include:

    • Enhancement of active listening skills: to enquire, listen and understand
    • Perception, the importance of not judging
    • Facilitation and coaching skills – the ability to ask open questions
    • Increased empathy with others
    • Be comfortable with silence or upset

    huunuu have developed a Time to Talk work mat that enables the opportunity to learn and practice key behaviours in a conversation, both talking and listening.

    There is also the opportunity to begin to think about a difficult conversation that employees may need to have and to practice. This may be work related or it may concern family or health issues, or about grief or loss, enabling and supporting meaningful and often delicate conversations in the workplace.

    These skills are readily transferrable in situations like giving and receiving feedback, performance reviews, meetings, and less formal circumstances where colleagues and peers are checking in with each other. It can also boost employee engagement knowing their own personal wellbeing is of importance to their employer.

    Visible outcomes will be increased clarity, faster decision making, less avoidance, more efficient outcomes and overall, a better environment for positive mental health. This could translate into a reduction of time and effort devoted to misunderstandings, judgement, anxiety, frustrations, and an increase in confidence.

    Contact Sarah to discuss the work mats in more detail and to book a session for your team sarah@huunuu.com.


    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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