Ask the Experts: Engaging in Tough Conversations

Ask the Experts: Engaging in Tough Conversations

Mike Bechtle is a best-selling author and Franklin Covey consultant

Mike Bechtle is an interpersonal communications expert. His witty-titled books such as People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keysand Dealing With the Elephant in the Room amuse as they capture your attention. Anyone who leads a small group knows that healthy communication is the bedrock of a healthy group; without it, the group falls apart. Just as a little rain must fall in everyone’s life, a little conflict must emerge in every group. Rather than flee the inevitable, Mike is a great counselor and coach for leaders who want to successfully navigate turbulent waters.

Mike, thanks for taking the time to be part of this conversation. How did communication and conflict resolution become a burning passion of yours?

Well, that’s easy. I was bad at it and wanted to get better. I was an introvert (and still am) and always felt intimidated in most conversations. I could always think of the perfect response to something, but it was about ten minutes after the conversation was over. I believed that if I was ever going to hold my own, I needed to become an extrovert—or at least act like one.

But that’s not who I was, and it never worked. I felt like a cheetah in a motivational seminar being told to “soar like an eagle.” Flying sounded great, but cheetahs are made for ground speed. I realized that the only way I could be an effective conversationalist was to learn how I was wired, then build on that. I needed to become the best “me” I could be.

In your book Dealing with the Elephant, you start out encouraging readers to do some preventative relationship work. I was struck but the 8-steps a typical couple journeys through. I think those 8-stages apply beyond romantic ...

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