Ask--Don't Ask to Tell

Soon after I turned 16, I took a young lady on a date around the lake late at night to watch the moon come up. When it was time to go home, I started the car, drove maybe a quarter mile, and the car stopped. In shock I noticed that the gas gauge registered “E.” So my date and I started walking. When we arrived at my home, her parents and my parents were waiting up for us. As soon as she left with her parents, my dad started in. Here are some of the questions that he asked:  “What do you think...

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10 Tips on Improving the Vitality and Quality of Your Relationships

A number of years ago at the conclusion of a two-day REAL Conversation class, two elderly gentlemen waited for me after class. After everyone left, they approached me and thanked me for the session. I asked them what had been most memorable and helpful for them. One of them perked up and said, “Before this class, neither one of us had spoken to one another for the last 21 years!” When I asked how that had happened, the other man said, “Funny thing is, we can’t remember now what we did that made each other so angry!” Can you imagine working...

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Do You Really Want to Take the Plunge (Tell the Truth)?

We all have “undiscussables”--things we think and feel but usually don’t say. Whether or not we decide to share those issues, however, is a different matter. Chris Argyris, American business theorist, believed that if organizations would talk safely and openly about their issues and concerns, then immense learning would take place that would allow individuals, teams, and organizations to solve problems, improve decision making, and increase their overall effectiveness. No one will argue with that, but the operative word is “safely.” Years ago, when I was training at an electric generating station in the Midwest, someone in class said, “We’ve got major undiscussables here!” Naturally, I pressed for an example. The participants in the class told me...

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