by Jane Anderson, Featured Contributor
IF YOU HAD TO DEFINE fake talk, how would you define it? My first thought when I read the book title ‘Overcoming Fake Talk’ was the only reason to try to overcome something is if it’s having a negative effect and to continue would have negative consequences. Right? Flipping quickly through the chapter titles I was snagged. Because this entire book is both lively and imploring while covering communication extensively, I’m sticking to my favorite chapters for this review. Admittedly, you will need to get your own copy of the book to learn all that John Stoker teaches in his book. In fact, this review can in no way do justice to the comprehensive content in this book. Imagine receiving a brand new book, beautiful cover, complimentary tributes fill the first few pages, followed by a page of outline and notes – then BLANK – the rest of the pages are blank! That’s how I want you to look at this book report. I’ll highlight my favorite pages and you read all that remain when you get your own copy of the whole book with every page a treasure of information you can use tomorrow.
What do you do with a chapter that asks: Do you ruin everything by being you? Maybe you’ve never asked yourself that question, but I have. If you seem to rehash conversations and ask yourself how you could be a better communicator, this chapter will help. The author digs into the four styles of interactions we’ve all heard about forever, but we understand them now with new energy and insight: Initiator, Discoverer, Connector, Builder
Using examples we can relate to he tells stories that entertain while we learn. Did you know that people who have a strong Initiator style may rarely speak to anyone unless they are giving an assignment? Vocally they may be characterized as forceful, aggressive or arrogant. They are quick, quick, quick …. As in Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire! On the other hand those who are Discovers are methodical, patient, gather information, seek perfection, analyze, hesitate to make decisions and are slow, slow, slow to decide…. As in Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Fire. How can two individuals with polar opposite styles co-exist? Certainly with such disparity there will be hurdles in the communication process to overcome. Wouldn’t each of them be skeptical of whether authentic communications could be achieved?
We’ve heard about the other two styles of interaction too. Connectors seek cooperation. Why can’t everyone just get along? They are relationship-oriented and enjoy working on projects with people they can count on and who can also count on them. Do you know anyone described as taking the Ready, Ready, Ready, Aim, Fire approach? As persistently as the connector seeks cooperation the next interaction style is Builder whose mental focus is all about appreciation. The Builder loves to be the center of attention, share lots of ideas, but come up short on the follow-through. Their approach is Ready, Ready, Aim, Aim, Fire.
Now I ask you – in those character traits is there any opportunity for Fake Talk? How do you get everyone together on the same page when their interaction styles are not even on the same continent? Now you know why you need to read the book.
Can you talk about what really matters? Yes you can, and that’s what this chapter is all about. I wish I could copy in the first couple pages for you. I love that John shares personal stories of his life as a white-water guide to solidify in our comprehension what he is conveying. What really matters? What are ‘undiscussables’? Why prepare? Why don’t we speak up? What is the cost of silence? I know. I struggle with the ‘why’ questions too. The author explains how to get REAL through the words we choose, initiating, being attentive, sharing factually, clarifying, building accountability – being REAL not fake.
So what about it? How do we overcome fake talk? By being REAL. In fact, Stoker tells us to Get REAL and provides the framework for building skills necessary for REAL talk, REAL conversations. In fact, these key behaviors are described in such depth you will not get to the end of the book and be left with blank stares.[message type=”custom” width=”100%” start_color=”#D8D8D8″ end_color=”#D8D8D8″ border=”#BBBBBB” color=”#333333″]
Recognize and Suspend to Uncover – notice how your thoughts affect behavior in conversations. You must be both an observer and participant to have real conversation.
Express Your Intention – get into the mindset of ‘we’ not ‘me’ when expressing your points of view and identifying your intentions.
Ask to Reveal – this skill is all about asking questions that lead to understanding of the views of others. Asking creates respect, adds engagement, and opens up discovery.
Listen and Attend to Connect – the word ‘and’ is intentional. To connect, requires we listen and pay attention to all of what is being said in the conversation. We listen with our ears. We attend with our eyes, heart, intuition, and body.[/message]
The end of the book asks: So now what? This book lays out the framework for real communication and offers so many ways to put advice into practice. Covering everything from feelings to thinking to emotions to action, there is no lack of guidance. I ask you the same question. Now what?