Clarity in Conversations is about clear dialogues, in the office and at home. Full of practical tips, fascinating science and great guests who know about listening skills, language, non-verbals, mindset, clarity, relationship building and any other things that determine whether your conversations are great, or whether they suck.
Your host is Frank Garten, specialized in how to have clear conversations and in cross-cultural communication. With a PhD in Physics, a background in international management and a fascination for helping people increase their impact, this show is in good hands!
Just tune in to learn about communication in the aviation industry (episode 1), our brain's defensive mechanisms (episode 2), developing your listening skills (episode 3) and the famous "Yes, but..."-response that can instantly kill any conversation (episode 4).
And find me at www.clarityinconversations.nl, where you can sign up to receive regular email updates.
My guest: Frank Garten
This is the last episode of Season 1 of Clarity in Conversations. And just like the previous episode was a special one where I interviewed co-host Els de Maeijer, for this last episode we reverse roles and Els will interview me.
It's not my first move usually to put myself in the spotlight. I operate better when not all lights are shining on me, even though I know I do myself short sometimes with this modest trait. I have to admit I like this role-reversal though. Els' questions triggered me to think about my own career moves and my interests, and connect these to the experience of producing this podcast.
I won't give you hints here of what we talk about: listen for yourself.
This end Season 1 of Clarity in Conversations, and I have tremendously enjoyed producing, interviewing, editing and publishing this podcast 13 times. What the future will hold? I have not taken a decision yet. I will use the summer months to think about a next season. Maybe a similar set-up and format. Maybe a change to a talkshow with multiple guests. Maybe a forum where we address real-life business challenges with a panel of wild thinkers. Maybe... ?
Any ideas are welcomed; great podcast ideas, offers for help and suggestions for modest sponsoring will be very welcomed to start Season 2: full of energy, after a nice and long summer break!
For any feedback and responses, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And thanks Els: for your fantastic role in Season 1. I never thought collaborating would be so nice when we started. Not only have you made this podcast come to life various ways: you also stimulated me to put the bar higher each time, and strive for a high quality listening experience for the many listeners in 50+ different countries. Thanks so much!
My guest: Els de Maeijer
Els studies language. But that summary would not do justice to a full PhD with the subtitle “Languaging in industry-academia collaborations”. The main title is “Open Innovation Dynamics”, which characterizes Els’ PhD research at the universities of Eindhoven and Antwerp.
Els de Maeijer has an MA in Linguistics and Literature at the University of Antwerp, she studied International Politics and works since 2010 at Fontys University of Applied Science, Industrial Engineering, Education and Management.
Her research is about open innovation, based on the assumption that critical knowledge for innovation resides often outside the borders of your organization. So collaboration with external entities – or in this case between Academia and Industry – is vital.
In this episode of Clarity in Conversations, I talk with Els about her research, but also about her teaching to students at Fontys University of Applied Science.
Of course the episode ends with practical tips. Read more about https://fontys.nl/Over-Fontys/Fontys-Hogeschool-Bedrijfsmanagement-Educatie-en-Techniek/Lectoraten/Lectoraat-Industrial-Engineering-Entrepreneurship/Onderzoeksteam/Els-de-Maeijer.htm (Els de Maeijer) at the website of https://fontys.nl/Over-Fontys/Fontys-Hogeschool-Bedrijfsmanagement-Educatie-en-Techniek/Lectoraten/Lectoraat-Industrial-Engineering-Entrepreneurship/Onderzoeksteam/Els-de-Maeijer.htm (Fontys) or follow her on https://twitter.com/ElsElske (twitter).
Conversations in times of change
Managing change is a challenge for any leader. And helping your people through change is an essential attention area for (people) managers. But corporate change is a curious process: in spite of organizational change being thoroughly prepared, most change projects fail. “Lack of Communication” is often cited as the number one reason for big change projects to fail.
I have asked all guests of this podcast so far to share their most important insights and tips for communication in times of change. Together with Els de Maeijer, we structured their insights into a few topics:
The time delay effect: the leaders of the changes have been involved in designing it for a long time and fail to understand that when they start communicating the changes, it’s new for their people who need time to digest and adapt
Explaining the change is not a one-time announcement, but ideally consists of a continuous dialogue
Being stuck in one conversation style: while logic and ratio work for some, other people rely more on other communication styles
Listening to your people in times of change: managers often use a strategy of “talking AT the group” rather than “talking WITH the people”
The head vs. the heart: emotions play a role, and ignoring these because rational argumentation is preferred is not a good idea
I like this quote by William Bridges: “Change comes more from managing the journey than from announcing the destination.”
In this episode of Clarity in Conversations you will hear many practical tips for managing change in organizations.
Our distinctly different styles of communication.
In episode 10 of Clarity in Conversations, my guest is Geof Cox. Geof has his own consultancy company called New Directions for over 25 years now, and he is the author of two very practical books about influencing and communication skills. “Getting Results without Authority - The new rule sof organisational influence” was published in 2010, and introduces a simple yet powerful model for influencing people who use different personal communication styles. Ten years earlier, in 2000, Goes already published Ready - Aim - Fire problem solving - A strategic approach to innovative decision making.
Geof is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He started his career as a line and HR manager in the oil industry with Esso Petroleum. As an independent consultant, he advises companies and facilitates workshops on management and communication skills, and designs and facilitates international leadership development programs.
Geof also is a colleague of mine, with whom I’ve been in front of groups frequently. And that’s been a pleasure always. Geof succeeds to have a vast database of theoretical background and great anecdotes about company life. But he uses this knowledge in a very practical way, succeeding to give people tools they can use the next morning in the office.
We’ll talk about his model for effective influence: the model he uses as the starting point for his book http://www.gettingresultswithoutauthority.com/ (Getting Results without Authority). When you have to rely on personal rather than positional power when influencing somebody, you’d better recognise the preferred style of that person and then choose consciously which style to use yourself to achieve results. The four styles - ACTIONS, PROCESS, PEOPLE and IDEAS, are distinctly different.
In the podcast we talk about the importance of adapting to different styles when you want to have a high quality conversation. Yes, you want to provide clarity. But for one person clarity consists of concrete actions, for another person it consists of clarifying the vision, and for someone else it’s all about giving logical and rational explanation for what you need to get done.
I reflect on the interview with Els de Maeijer, researcher Communication and Innovation at Fontys University of Applied Science in The Netherlands. Els starts with a question this time, wondering how to recognise the style fo your influence target when that person doesn’t wear a sticker on her head telling you what personality type she is. And of course, the podcast concludes with 3 practical tips to enhance the Clarity of your Conversations, in the office and at home.
For more information about Geof Cox, visit his http://newdirections.uk.com/index.html (company website)! Or https://frankgarten.nl/contact/ (contact me) at email@example.com, for information about the short and condensed online versions of the mentioned workshops, especially relevant in these COVID-19 times.
The power of being brief
We all have this one particular colleague. The guy who walks in and starts rambling. Only a rude interruption or a fire alarm seems to be able to stop the sea of words. Is he effective? Not at all, as the time he needs to explain his point of view largely exceeds the average attention span of his audience.
But being brief is not that easy. In this episode of Clarity in Conversations, I speak with Joe McCormack. Joe is an author, successful entrepreneur, marketing executive and founder of https://thebrieflab.com/ (The Brief Lab). The Brief Lab’s mission is to help organizations master concise communication to improve operational effectiveness. Joe graduated with honors from Loyola University of Chicago, and lives in suburban Chicago and Pinehurst, NC. Joe works with managers, executives but also Special Operations forces of the US Military, to ensure their communication is spot-on.
This interview largely covers the great insights I gained from Joe’s book “BRIEF. Make a bigger impact by saying less.” Not only do we talk about the need to be brief in corporate interactions, but also will we discover that there are very powerful and practical tips you can use to be brief. At the end of the interview, we speak about Joe’s new book “Noise. Living and leading when nobody can focus”.
You’ll get insights into practical techniques to ensure you are known as a ‘lean communicator’. For example, Joe shares his proven “Map it. Tell it. Talk it. Show it.”-approach, which is a powerful guide to distilling the key message that your audience will remember after speaking with you.
At the end of the episode, I speak with Els de Maeijer, researcher Communication and Innovation at Fontys University of Applied Science in The Netherlands, who reflects on the interview and puts the insights in context. The podcast ends with practical tips to enhance the clarity of your conversations, in the office and at home.
For more information about Joe McCormack, check https://thebrieflab.com/ (his website).
How great interviews lead to great conversations
She is the author of 2 great books, a frequently-cited TED-talk, and also radio show host, journalist and interviewer. My guest in episode 8 of Clarity in Conversations is Celeste Headlee. Celeste learned in the early stages of interviewing world leaders, plumbers, politicians and housewives that all things she learned in school did not prepare her for making great interviews.
So she started finding out herself. And noticed that the conventional lessons – look at the other person, maintain eye contact, nod, summarize – did not guarantee a good conversation. Other factors however did. This research – and her own observations about interviews that went well and less well – resulted in her 2015 TED-talk “10 ways to have a better conversation”.
In this episode of Clarity in Conversations, I speak with Celeste first of all about the research that led to the TED-talk and to her first book We Need To Talk – How to have conversations that matter. She argues along the way that the smarter people are, the less good they are at listening to others. A point worthwhile to explore. Further, we speak about curiosity as a necessary ingredient to make guests interesting for listeners to her radioshows and for herself. We speak about a term that not many people will know: conversational narcissism: the tendency to bring every conversation back to yourself. And we explore what led Celeste to write a new book, Do Nothing: how to break away from overworking, overdoing and underliving.
I reflect on the interview with Els de Maeijer, researcher Communication and Innovation at Fontys University of Applied Science in The Netherlands. Els reflects on the effect of modern technology on our attention span, which led Celeste to write her new book. Els compares our constant attention for incoming messages through e-mail and social media with the way we addictively pull the arm of the slot machines in Las Vegas: we’re hungry for more, and forget to reflect, slow down and… have a good conversation.
Like every week, the podcast ends with 3 practical tips to enhance the Clarity of your Conversations, in the office and at home.
For more information about Celeste Headlee, find her https://www.ted.com/talks/celeste_headlee_10_ways_to_have_a_better_conversation (TED-talk), visit her https://www.celesteheadlee.com/ (personal website) or find her books “We need to talk” and “Do Nothing” at your local bookstore.