How to trouble-shoot your conversation gone bad



Did you just have a conversation that was incredibly frustrating? As a business speech coach, here's what I consider when I analyze a conversation to see what impedes it.


First consider the format of the people in the conversation. These include clear pronunciation, rate of speech, grammar, strong regional or foreign accents, and vocal loudness. Did everyone hear the message clearly, or did someone have a hearing loss or was in a noisy setting? Was everyone paying attention and apparently feeling well? What signals were noted in peoples' body language?


Then consider the content. Were there idiomatic expressions, jargon, acronyms or abbreviations used that everyone did not understand? Were the messages phrased clearly for that specific audience? If details (especially numbers or directions) were shared, would they have been better shared in writing? People who are visual learners or who have poor auditory memories might not recall as much spoken information. If you were trying to persuade, should different reasons have been chosen for those listeners? Was this a good time for everyone for this conversation, or had a distracting event happened just before the conversation?


Lastly, consider the workplace, family or ethnic culture. Were you speaking to the correct decision-maker? If it was an ethnic cultural difference, had you researched differences in body language, timing for meetings, meanings of colors, decision-making processes or other concerns?


Conversations can go wrong for many reasons. As Criss Jami, Salome in In Every Inch In Every Mile phrased it, “Everyone has their own ways of expression. I believe we all have a lot to say, but finding ways to say it is more than half the battle."