What we're saying might seem a bit counterintuitive—but to have quicker, more productive conversations, you need to slow down.

8Your Five-Step Conversation Road MapTaking a Practical Approach to Get Results

It wasn't for lack of trying. We were always at least a week behind, no matter what the task.

John worked for a software development company that made apps for mobile phones and other devices. It was a small company—fewer than 50 people. And John had just inherited a design team that was incredibly talented, but its members couldn't meet a deadline to save their lives. If all-nighters and dirty coffee cups are effective lag measures, then the effort was clearly there. I knew part of my job was to turn that around, he told us. I was going to be judged on that. But besides giving lots of pep talks and making people stay late, I really didn't have a clue where to start.

In the two previous chapters, we introduced you to five Key Principles designed to help you better understand and speak to people's personal needs. Make no mistake—these are key relationship skills that build trust and enthusiasm so people want to support you and your ideas. But this personal connection isn't enough; there's the practical matter of getting the work done. To do that, you'll need to make sure everyone understands exactly what's expected of him or her, which is more difficult than it sounds. To accomplish this consistently, you'll need a clear road map for the conversations you have with your ...

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