Zoning Out While You Zoom In: A Guide to Intentional Conversations – Part 2

Diane Egbers, Founder of Leadership Excelleration joins Travis Nipper in the second of a two part conversation on…CONVERSATIONS! In the age of Zoom-fatigue, Diane shares her perspective and practical tips for leaders to enter into and participate in higher quality conversations more intentionally so they can lead their organizations through the current uncertainty.


Diane begins with a recap of part 1 to not only be intentional but also purposeful, engaging, and by elevating participation. Additionally, she thanks all viewers who provided feedback from part 1 (1:05)

Diana reaffirms the B.U.I.L.D. model of intentional conversations. It is about what we are looking for in a conversation and how we can decipher if the one we are invited to is purposeful and if not, how we can lean in to contribute. The first B stands for Bold. New ideas, vision, and thinking about a path forward. Next, is Understanding. Systems, processes, procedures, and getting everyone to understand how we plan to accomplish goals. Thirdly, is Inquiring. It is promoting deep conversation to socialize our purpose through questioning. The L in the B.U.I.L.D. model stands for Learning. This step is a conversation to promote the grow and development of the group or individual. This is an educational conversation. Finally, the D stands for Decision. This step is to gain agreements and to drive forward towards results. (2:30)

Travis pushes the conversation forward, asking what signs we look for to know we are engaging in this purposeful dialogue. Diane discusses the understanding of which conversation we are in; she also references the 6 W’s. What are we intending to achieve as an outcome? We want to Walk away with positive results, and we want to know What the plan is. The next 3 W’s are about confidence and support. Who is involved? When will it happen? And Where? This is aimed at getting the participants of the conversation to walk away feeling confident in the plan and in their leader (6:00)

Diane then goes on to discuss common challenges. She notes that it is important to understand who the decision maker is. She brings up the example of meandering misconstrued purpose. It is a scenario when people are not sure what conversation they are having, and she stresses the importance of the leader providing clarity. A second challenge is called analysis paralysis, or the continued questioning even after the majority of the team feels like it is time to move on to the decision-making process. The strategy to overcome this is to ask the team what they think and feel. The third challenge we run into is moving to rapidly to the decision-making step. Diane reminds us that we must be mindful as leaders and ask the team what they need to know and understand in order to support the decision. At this point it may be necessary to move back through previous conversations (8:50)

Diane continues by noting that she has noticed some themes from this unprecedented year. One is that she has recognized hesitation on the Bold step. She says that we still need to inspire our team to have Bold conversations despite uncertainty that comes with the pandemic (13:22)

As we get to U in Understanding, we have to recognize that virtual conversations tend to be more surface level and we must encourage deeper, interactive conversation instead of regurgitating the problem over and over. Next, Diane notes that questioning and listening conversations of Inquiry can truly foster connection and a sense of belonging. She stresses the importance of that during virtual times like these. When it comes to Learning conversations, we need to develop the things that virtually promote learning and risk-taking. Finally, it is essential to be an effective decision-maker by exploring implications and making sure all aspects are accounted for (14:58)

Sharing her final thoughts, Diane says that this is a journey that we must navigate despite the fact that we may never be perfect at these kind of conversations. She stresses that this is one thing that we can really focus on and improve. Getting to intentional and productive conversations is the way we can best connect to our team as a leader and make our team feel as if their ideas and additions truly matter. Diane adds that working towards clarity of our communication can greatly help our credibility as a leader (17:56)


Diane Egbers, CEO/Founder, Leadership Excelleration

Twitter: @DianeEgbers

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