It is human nature to avoid conflict, stressful situations, and the unknown. And often, it seems easier to avoid difficult conversations. As agribusiness professionals and service providers, it is easier to focus on the technical component in a conversation rather than the emotional aspect.
Extension Fond du Lac County Dairy & Livestock Agent Tina Kohlman and Washington & Ozaukee County Agriculture Educator Stephanie Plaster discuss in this recorded webinar “Making the Connection: Reframing tough conversations for success” for over 120 individuals the “why” and “how” to reframe a conversation so it is more productive and collaborative.
Agribusiness professionals have found themselves having difficult conversations. Many times, these conversations just need to be reframed, to help shift the tone from a negative to a positive, or to a perspective on the present or future instead of the past. Reframing a conversation can take a difficult situation and turn it into an opportunity, help de-escalate a charged situation, and give the person we are talking with the opportunity to process and approach the conversation from a different perspective.
Reframing does not have a structure to it like open-ended questions where we ask “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, “how”, or “why” type questions to deepen the conversation; summarizing when we are repeating back the conversation, we just had to make sure that we understand; or reflection where we summarize not only the context of the conversation, but also the emotion behind it. Reframing is an internal mode of operation, it is how we chose and express our words, to frame the conversation, in a way to make it more collaborative and productive. It the way we respond to a conversation, not how we react to it.
Based on the post-webinar evaluation (n=58) 79 percent of respondents reported they were more comfortable responding to a difficult conversation.