Do You Want to be Successful? Then, Talk Straight!

Do You Want to be Successful? Then, Talk Straight!

Eliciting the best from others requires straight talk. As a leader, boss and manager, it also requires engaging in real conversations by using persuasive listening skills*. The goals are to have others,

feel great after talking with us,

feel inspired, and

have confidence in our leadership.

Why are we afraid of straight talk?

Human beings have been socialized to fear conflict, including other people’s opinions, thoughts and feelings — especially if they don’t agree with us.

As a result, we often and unconsciously:

Hide behind company jargon when attempting to answer questions we don’t really know the answer to for fear of looking bad or incompetent.

 Go silent when asked direct questions because we were not listening, or do not trust our responses.

Try to out-talk someone or get upset with them hoping they will eventually give up and go away.

Why? These ineffective behaviors have worked for us in the past. And, we believe they will keep working.

It’s not easy to talk straight. However, as a leader, it’s important we make a positive difference with our teams by learning to communicate effectively!

How Do You Talk Straight?

Set aside your ego. You will never learn anything if you talk more than listen! Ask the right questions and come from humility, coupled with a sincere interest in learning. This is more important than telling people what you know. Be willing to say, “I don’t know the answer to that question.” Or, ask more questions to uncover what they really mean, without sounding like an interrogator! The key is to take the time to uncover you have a team of geniuses and valuable contributors!

Straight talk requires using different communication vehicles to convey your message. To communicate effectively, speak and write simplistically. Remember, many employees only have a 6th grade reading level. To complicate it further, many don’t fully comprehend what they read. Often, people learn better by listening, seeing pictures, and through hands-on experience. Take the time to talk your team through changes in policies or procedures. Provide opportunities for Q&A, using graphics and pictures. Utilize experiential learning opportunities. Remember, successfully engaging your employees requires consistent and repetitive messages from you … aka straight talk.

Truly listen. It’s important we say what we mean and mean what we say! This can only happen when we listen to others and hear them first. Then, we can make sure our messaging is on point!  A couple of very bad listening habits include,

Falsely believing if we can repeat back what someone has said, we listened!

Or worse, believing in the myth we are mind readers and know what someone is going to say before they say it.

Stop doing these things! Start truly listening. You’ll be amazed by what you learn!

Remember, your team’s success depends upon you talking straight.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2016

*To find out more about persuasive listening skills:

Jeannette Seibly has been a business advisor and facilitator for over 23 years; she is laser sharp at identifying the leverage points that will take a business and its team to the next level of performance and success. Check out her website:  or contact Jeannette for a free, confidential conversation at

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