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Our monthly Straight Talk Tips highlight aspects of the Straight Talk approach to effective communication. They serve as reminders of the process for those who have been through the Straight Talk training. They are also an introduction to the concepts on which Straight Talk is based.

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When you don't speak up, you end up being polite instead of honest, your feedback is bland and your opinions are muted. Holding back on what you truly think and feel is essentially dishonest behaviour, but without some skill in holding sensitive conversations, many people choose not to speak up, rather than risk getting into an argument.

Use the ten items below for a quick assessment of whether you need to do more straight talking.

  1. You hold back on full and candid opinions when difficult or sensitive issues are being discussed.
  2. Rather than say what you really think, you use humour and sarcasm to get your point across.
  3. You tend to tell people what to do, rather than taking time to explore their opinions and ideas.
  4. You put up with incompetence and bad behaviour rather than confront it with critical feedback.
  5. You notice your emotions becoming stronger the longer you don't speak up.
  6. You keep quiet rather than give bad news or other unwelcome information to others who may react negatively.
  7. You choose to ignore behaviour you find offensive, rather than confront someone.
  8. You sometimes explode with anger or frustration when you have been unable to speak up.
  9. You get frustrated when you can't persuade people to change how they behave.
  10. There are people around you who drive you crazy with their aggressive or disrespectful behaviour.

Are you a planner or an improvisor?

Some people have lives that are organised and structured. They decide what must be done and consistently do it, with carefully considered plans. Their schedules and To Do lists are full.

Others, by contrast, take a more spontaneous and open minded view of life. They have a live and let live attitude. They can improvise plans and change them as conditions change.

People who are well balanced have the perception to understand which style is most appropriate at any given time, but each of us has a preference for one or the other.

Do you chart every step ahead or do you improvise with whatever life deals you? Which description in the questions below most closely describes the style with which you are most comfortable?

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About Straight Talk

Personal success depends more on emotional intelligence than on education, skill or experience. This is true in the workplace and in personal relationships.

Conversations around sensitive issues when opinions differ and emotions run high, are the real-time test of emotional intelligence, demanding both courage and skill. Without courage we delay, or avoid these conversations completely: bad behaviour goes unchallenged and no-one is held accountable for poor performance. Without skill, we start conversations that run into arguments and fights, doing more harm than if we’d stayed quiet.

Straight Talk skills enable you to plan and hold safe, constructive conversations even in difficult situations. You can put your opinion forward without getting into arguments: give feedback safely even when it’s personal and sensitive: and hold people to account so they improve their behaviour or their performance.

When you have these skills you don’t have to bite your lip and hold onto frustration: nor do you risk the harm you do when you speak out in anger and accusation.

If you’re serious about improving the way you communicate at work, or with family and friends, call 082 601 2807 or mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click here to read more about Straight Talk

Change your behaviour – change the future. 1 day workshop
This workshop shows you how to make sure your efforts to change behaviour bring results that last. You can use the tools and techniques in your personal life and at work, to change your own behaviour or that of others.
Click here for more details


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