This tool is deeply meaningful to me personally and I’ve had amazing feedback on its predecessors over the years from clients who’ve used it with friends, bosses, colleagues, parents, children and spouses and from fellow coaches who have passed it on to their clients (at one company the managers voted it the most useful tool they’d learned). I even taught it to my 12-year-old daughter and it worked so well for her she began teaching it to friends at school.
Here is the overview, to be followed by six blogs explaining each step in a little more detail.
I is for Individual and Intention
Who is your issue with? This is the person to whom you’ll have to speak if you want things to change. If your intention is to resolve your issue constructively with the best possible outcome for both of you, proceed to ‘S’, below. (If not, you can ignore this process completely and say whatever you want…)
S is for Setting
Choose the best possible place and time for your coversation. Ideally, it will be a private setting in which neither of you is rushed, stressed or distracted. This isn’t always possible, but do your best.
P is for Positive aPProach
The best way to open the lines of communication is to call someone by name and say something genuinely positive about them or your relationship. Depending on the circumstances this may be difficult, but if you want a positive outcome, it’s worth the effort. In later columns I’ll give you lots of ideas for finding something positive about virtually any situation or any person.
E is for Explicit Example
Moving forward, cite a specific example of the issue you’re concerned about. Stick to the facts, relating an incident you can both agree happened the way you describe it.
A is for how you were Adversely Affected
Now say how that behaviour affected you. Were you late? Frustrated? Humiliated? Fired? Say it matter-of-factly, with as little emotion as possible. Remember, your intention was for a positive outcome from this conversation - not a fight. Right?
Q is for reQuirements and Questions
Time to say what you need and then open the floor to two-way conversation. Having expressed what happened and how it affected you, state your requirements going foward. Ask the other person what they might require, or whether they have any questions.
So there you have it, basic ISPEAQ. I hope you find it helps you have healthy, grown-up conversations about those difficult topics and with the tricky people in your life.
I’d love to hear your experiences with it too, please let me know how it works (or doesn’t) when you try it with the people in your life.
Ta ta for now.