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What factors make certain conversations in the library "difficult"? For some it might be that a specific topic is uncomfortable. For others, it may be that certain circumstances make us feel awkward. Often, we know that if the conversation is handled badly, it will result in serious repercussions. In some instances speaking up (or down) "the chain of command" is stressful. For many, it often comes down to personality and style. Some people really are difficult to talk to in any situation. And some of us simply have a difficult time talking to certain people - period.

During this workshop participants will:

  • Learn how to approach a difficult library conversation in a way that assures success
  • Learn to understand the factors that make some library interactions more uncomfortable than they should be
  • Learn the basics of good interpersonal communication that makes all conversations easier
  • Learn how timing and focus can help us make difficult conversations easier
  • Learn how to set goals and priorities so that difficult library conversations have positive outcomes
  • Learn the incredible value of reframing in difficult conversations
  • Learn to recognize and deal effectively with "difficult personalities"

Workshop Description: This unique one-day workshop uses lecture, discussion, and individual and group exercises to teach participants effective, practical, and positive skills for making the most difficult conversations easier and more productive.

Preliminary Course Outline

THE BASICS - BETTER INTERPERSONAL SKILLS MAKE FOR EASIER CONVERSATIONS

  • Attending Skills Are 65-85% of the Game
    • Your posture creates involvement
    • Appropriate body motion
    • The eyes have it
    • The environment
  • Keeping Track - Following Skills
    • Getting it started
    • Keeping it going
    • Useful questions
    • Silence is golden
  • Reflecting Back - Staying Connected
    • Paraphrasing
    • Reflecting and clarifying feelings
    • Reflecting and clarifying meanings
    • Tying it together
  • The Total Effect
    • Exceptions to every rule

IDENTIFYING THE SUBJECT - TEXT AND SUB-TEXT

  • The Big Question - Confront or Avoid?
    • Timing is everything
    • Are you afraid?
    • Guaranteed - how to turn a molehill into a mountain
  • It's Usually Not "Fact or Fiction"
    • It's more like "Rashomon"
    • Hidden issues? You bet!
  • Feelings before Facts
    • Which carries more weight?
    • Which gets handled first?
  • Personality or Process?
    • What's their investment?
    • Where should your investment be?

TURNING CONFLICT INTO COOPERATION

  • Keep Light - No "Position" Is Totally Intractable
    • Identify the problem
    • There is magic in reframing
  • Focus - Difficult Conversations Are Not Casual Chit-Chat
    • Have an outcome in mind
    • Compartmentalize your emotions
  • Outcomes and Solutions
    • Don't stand on principle
    • The goal is to MOVE FORWARD!
  • Context - Separate People from the Problem
  • Helping "Difficult Personalities"
    • Don't be a slave to the emotions of others
    • The Bulldog, The Bully, The Blamer, The Martyr, "Mr. Teflon," The Liar, "Ms. Fragile," The Easily Insulted, The Instigator, and other favorites...

FACE TO FACE - WALKING THE WALK & TALKING THE TALK

  • OK. Let's Hold Some Difficult Conversation
    • What are the steps?
    • What are the rules?
    • Let's practice!

Workshop Instructor: Edmond Otis