The latest episode of Healthcare Experience Matters, the official podcast of our Healthcare Experience Foundation (HXF) partners is a chat with Katie Owens (HXF co-founder and president) about the Conversation Curve™.
Simply put, the Conversation Curve™ is a conflict resolution model with a powerful purpose: it can guide a difficult conversation to a positive solution.
The Conversation Curve™ is a tool that provides a path to overcome barriers in communication. It has proven to be an effective means for teaching the value of true, two-way communication in tough situations.
Embracing Difficult Conversations
Conflict that goes without resolution can have a wave of negative impacts on our relationships, both professionally and in our personal lives. The risk of avoiding a difficult conversation can actually be the riskiest proposition of all.
It can lead to poor decision making, a collapse of trust, and a lack of loyalty. The reality remains that many healthcare professionals are not trained to deal with conflicts in communication. Most leaders avoid it and nearly everyone struggles to handle it with strong confidence and ease.
Those that are not professionally trained and equipped to handle it, will end up avoiding it or mishandling the situation. These mishaps can end up causing deep damage to relationships.
As we discuss on today’s podcast, we all must do a better of job of being ready to manage conflict. Conflict is inevitable, and when it arises, we have to end the cycle of avoiding it.
Listening to this podcast is a great way to take the first steps in prepping for a touchy conversation. (If you’re interested in learning more about The Conversation Curve™ for positive outcomes in difficult conversations, make sure to check out our Conversation Curve™ course in the Healthcare Experience Academy.)
Ultimately this is a tool that will help you manage conflict in a step-by-step process. The Conversation Curve™ is an easy-to-understand method, but it takes practice to implement it with success and confidence.
“Finding ways to mirror and build trust, but never matching aggression is really important,” Katie said.
This tool teaches us to prepare for difficult conversations by knowing how to foresee what can go right and what can go wrong. As leaders we cannot afford to avoid these conversations and allow these negative vibes to fester.
Conflict must be dealt with in real time, we cannot allow its ripple effects to spread throughout departments and institutions.
Keeping Emotions in Check
At the heart of the Conversation Curve™ is emotional intelligence. As we all know, it’s really easy in the face of conflict to feel defensive and under attack. We must keep our emotions in check and be aware of regulating our emotions.
It’s crucially important to buy yourself time in these moments. We must find ways to build trust. When we notice ourselves feeling stressed or anxious amid a tough conversation, it’s vital to be aware of the impact that can have on our emotions.
As we learn on today’s podcast, other important ways to keep your emotions in check include:
- Ask questions to uncover more information (especially if you are hearing a lot of absolutes).
- Avoid making accusations.
- Silence is okay. In fact, silence can be powerful.
- Write things down.
- Paraphrase what the other person is saying to better understand each other.
- Be aware of your tone of voice and body language.
“93 perecent of how we communicate is tone of voice and body language, and we’ve got to be aware of that,” Katie told us on today’s podcast.