7. Design the Conversation

As you gather answers for your strategic questions, your next step is to record them as a way to build a design for your conversation. On the Worksheets you'll notice that the format for recording your learnings follows a specific formula:
  • Your Strategic Question
  • Insights
  • Translation to Action

Here's a walkthrough of each part:
Your Strategic Question: This is your verbatim question repeated here to highlight your work.

Insights: This is your summary record of what you learned. You do not need to write volumes, but enough so that any new thoughts or ideas about yourself, about ______________, or about the situation are written down in enough detail so that you can easily recollect these perspectives about how you want to proceed as you reach out to _____________________.

Translation to Action: Based on your insights, now sit back and reflect, doing your best to visualize your conversation with ____________ as if you are putting the whole thing on video tape. Do this from the moment you set up an initial conversation (for example, with a call or email) through the outcomes you identified as Targets, Expectations and Vision. Record in writing the moments that will be especially important -- the moments when you apply most directly the insights you've gained and listed on the worksheet. In particular, write down the behaviors that might be new to you, or in some way are different from how you might have acted in the past. Make sure that these are specific and observable behaviors. For example, simply writing down a conclusion, such as "I want to trust ______________ more" is not observable. But actually saying to ____________ as part of the visualized conversation, "I'll trust you more in the future" is observable. Why write the new behavior down? Because new behavior is what is most likely to change your brain's own circuitry for the future and noticeably display your intention to reach out. As mentioned early on, while there are no guarantees that your actions will actually build trust, your chances are increased when you bring thoughtful, conscious, new action to the exchange.
Keep in mind that the process of planning and visualizing is only a first stage of insight and learning. The rest comes after you act. In the wake of doing things differently, your own process of insight continues, in turn creating a learning loop. Whether you start with insight or simply changed behavior, learning will happen, and continue to happen over time.

As you perform this visualization, other aspects of the conversation may arise that concern you -- sometimes very specific ones, such a phrase _____________ could use, a judgment he or she could make, a question that might be asked, or an incident from the past that could come up. Do your insights also give you a way to respond to these issues also? If not, consider going back through the process again beginning at Step 3 to identify the new obstacle, turn it into a deeper inquiry and use multiple intelligences once again to assist you. Notice how much more quickly the process goes the second time through. The more you repeat the process, gaining additional insight with each cycle, the more you are likely to feel more confidence in yourself and your approach.

Continue to "work the process:" Consider this questions carefully:

What are the most important things you have you learned about yourself through the conversation design steps?

How prepared do you feel, really? What's your head telling you? What's your gut say? Should you run through the steps again with another dilemma and strategic question?

Are you ready to proceed now? If you are not yet willing to take steps yet to set up a conversation with ________________, what else do you need to do now to get ready?