Critical Conversations

In this short 4 minute video, our senior programme manager for #ProjectM Beverley Powell shares a brief summary of some tips and good practice around critical conversations.

During this video, Beverley shares a definition of what a critical conversation is, how Kolb’s learning cycle can be adapted to become a framework for a critical conversation and some top tips on planning a critical conversation.

Having now watched the video, please take a moment to reflect on the following questions:

Q: What key piece of learning will you take from this video?

Q: How will you put your learning back into your professional practice?

Hello, My name is Beverley Powell and I’m the senior programme manager for Project M. What is a critical conversation? In truth, there is no definition of what a critical conversation is, as we all may have different perceptions as to what is critical and what is not. For the purpose of this short video however, we can define a critical conversation as an important interaction between an individual or group which requires a high level of communication within an appropriate timeframe.

The following four reasons may help in assisting you to reflect on what you view as a critical conversation. Could it be a strategic conversation? Could it be a clinical conversation? Could it be a management conversation? Or could it be a dynamic conversation which may involve health and well-being or a performance related conversation.

The starting point for any manager about to engage in a critical conversation is to ensure that you are clear on the following three points. Point one: What is the purpose for this critical conversation? Have a goal in mind, but be flexible. Point two: How have you planned this critical conversation? And point three: Remember to take care of yourself and the person you’re in conversation with.

Many of you will be familiar with Kolb’s learning cycle as a helpful model of learning. For the purpose of this video, we shall adapt this model to use as a communications who were leading a critical conversation. Here are four stages of Kolb’s learning cycle. The concrete experience which talks through the experience. The second stage is the reflective area, and it’s an observational reflection on what happened. The third area is the abstract conceptualisation. What were the components to that experience? And the last section is active experimentation. What is it that you would do differently?

Here are seven Top Tips for you to consider when leading a critical conversation. One, timing is everything. Two, have a positive mindset. Three, always have and use open questions. Four, control your emotions. This may be a challenging time, so to control your emotions is important. Five, keep it confidential. Six, always end on a positive note. And seven, self-reflection. As a manager, it’s important that we reflect ourselves on how well this has gone for us. Thanks for watching and feel free to leave a comment on this video to encourage Project M’s approach to shared learning.

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