Everyone who is great at calming an explosive conversation or remembering names of people you meet at networking events, raise your hand.
Yeah, about five out of 18 hands went up in the room where Carlo Van Herk, Claudette Lacombe, Lewis Baarda and Mike Gretzinger attended a Dale Carnegie workshop on communication. While each member of the Farming Smarter team had specific reasons to take the course, they all managed to bring back useful skills to share with coworkers and learned something about themselves in the process.
The staff communicate with many people for many reasons over the course of a year. Sometimes, it can be difficult to remember a person’s name after only a brief conversation at an event.
Mike said, “I resonate with the Carnegie quote that ‘A person's name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.’” The course armed everyone with tools to improve on this front.
Carlo added, “I know I struggle to remember names, but now I hope to improve relationships with people and be confident to communicate with them instead of racking my brain for the first minute trying to remember their name.”
It’s unrealistic to think that every conversation will be all sunshine and roses. We work in the real world where sometimes muck happens. Many people in the room admitted that they avoid difficult conversations like the plague. Everyone had the opportunity to pretend to be disagreeable or deal with a person that disagrees with you. It was practice for real life that enables you to turn a disagreement into a discussion.
Image Caption: Lewis Baarda training to communicate better with you in 2024!
“I found out that I can be quite belligerent given permission,” chuckled Claudette. “But I also learned that there are effective ways to counter and calm a person or simply make sure I my give ideas voice in conversations.”
Carlo also found the difficult conversation exercises helpful. “One takeaway is the conflict resolution skills we learned. The question and cushion techniques are the basis of toning down a conflict to a discussion,” he said.
On a side note, Carlo picked up an award for being clear and concise. He taught us all, even the grey hairs, how to write a simple program to shut down our computers at the end of the day.
The group spent the last day rehearsing confidence and enthusiasm. The instructor took everyone through an exercise where participants had to shed their inhibitions and actually roar at the rest of the group. Seriously, Fe, Fi, Fo Fum echoing off the walls. These were exercises in building confidence and openness in your communication.
Lewis enjoyed those sessions in particular. “My big takeaway was the value of confidence. Being open and honest about my own abilities and where I need more experience or support will help my team know what is needed to fill the gaps,” he said.
Back at the office, these team members shared tactics to remember names with the rest of the team. If you see one of us struggling to remember your name, give us a second and engage in a friendly chat so we can file your name in our grey matter for the next time we meet.