Articles

These articles, written by industry leaders and communication experts (including DialogueWORKS founder John R. Stoker), address a variety of communciation challenges faced by individuals and organizations. 

Browse the index and choose an article to read online, or download something that catches your interest. 

Are You Creating a Culture of Inclusion?

With recent events in our world, people's positions and opinions have become more and more polarized. A culture of inclusion will help counteract rancor, accusation, and disrespect. This article contains 12 steps you might take as you attempt to create a culture of inclusion within your organization.
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Can You Manage the Emotions of Others?

Having feelings and expressing your emotions is part of being human. Sometimes others’ feelings will get the best of them, making it impossible to rationally continue the conver­sation. Learning a bit about human nature and the steps you can take to defuse defensiveness in others will go a long way to improving the quality of your conversations.
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What If You Just Don't Respect Someone?

All of us at some time or another will deal with an individual for whom we have little or no respect. Is it possible to develop respect for someone despite your current notion? Will you ever be able to maintain your sanity and improve your relationship?
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Resolving Conflict Made Quick and Easy!

Resolving conflict is not about always being right and making others wrong. When you are confronted with emotion, do you become emotional yourself or do you run and hide?
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What Keeps You Up at Night?

If you are like most of us, there are nights when sleep is in short supply. Setting aside your neighbor’s barking dog, the three-year-old child who decides to sleep in your bed and then snuggle up on your head, or the fact that your 401k has turned into a 201k, your insomnia probably stems from the challenges you are experiencing at work.
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Increase Your Productivity--and Profitability!

With organizational and individual confidence at all-time lows, we must remember that organizations don't perform, people do. Individual performance results in productivity, which translates directly into profitability. Improving the bottom line has far more to do with how people think and interact with each other than with what numbers on a spreadsheet reveal. Why? Because spreadsheets don't show how the failure to think and act together impacts profitability.
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What's With All Of These Conversations?

Why would I want to hold a conversation that is fierce, toxic, or even difficult? There is more under the surface that needs to be taken into account when holding a challenging conversation of any kind.
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What are REAL Conversations?

REAL conversations create results--not just any old results, but the results we actually want. These desirable results are beneficial to all of the participants in the conversation. When we hold REAL conversations, we achieve desired results while at the same time increasing the rapport, respect, trust, and learning of everyone involved. The type of communication that creates REAL conversation is called DIALOGUE.
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Foundations of Effective Communication

Everyone wants to connect. Connections are forged by showing interest, asking questions to improve or clarify understanding, listening to what people have to say, showing gratitude, and being present when speaking with others. We must learn to approach one another in a spirit of engagement and discovery. We must do what we can to maintain the self-esteem of the individual, realizing that how people feel about you is a reflection of how they feel about themselves. Conversations that are based on these positive behaviors will establish the desired rapport.
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Defusing Defensiveness: Do Your Conversations Work?

Have you ever been surprised by a "hot" emotional response to what you thought was a perfectly reasonable question? Or made an innocent comment, only to be blasted by a comeback that seemed completely out of proportion to the situation? Perhaps you have had the opposite experience, where someone just shut down, responding to your questions or comments with a dismissive shrug or a barely audible grunt. At either extreme, you were probably left scratching your head, wondering, "What was that all about?" The fact is that many of our interactions--in our personal lives and in the workplace--are less than effective because of an emotional "fight" or "flight" response.
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One Ball We Should Never Drop

A friend and I recently watched an amazing performance by a talented juggler. Afterwards, we started talking about all of the "balls" we have to keep in the air in our own lives, and how the New Year is a great opportunity to take a good look at all of our challenges and commitments. My friend made a great point: she said that of all the balls we juggle, only one is made of glass: our families. If we drop that ball, the results can be disastrous. Her analogy made me think of our "work families"--individuals with whom we work, strive, endure, and achieve on a daily basis. Hour for hour, most of us actually spend more waking time with our "work family" than we do with members of our own family. If gratitude is the basis of all abundance, then shouldn't we express gratitude or appreciation to the people in our "work family?"
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Managing Challenging Conversations

Communications expert John R. Stoker shares valuable management lessons he learned while working as a river guide in the Grand Canyon.
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Five Questions That Can Change Your Life

Sometimes we are simply unconsciously conscious. We walk around in the light of day, but we are unaware of where we are, where we’re going, or what we’re doing. Not until we have passed the exit do we realize that we have been virtually asleep at the wheel and have missed the destination we thought we were heading for. Here are five questions that will heighten your level of awareness and increase your ability to change your life and achieve the results you desire.
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What You Should Know Before You Open Your Mouth and Remove All Doubt

We asked people at all levels, “What one thing do leaders need to improve about their communication?” Participants responded by identifying 33 principles effective leaders practice in their day-to-day conversations. We condensed that list to 13 leadership principles that every leader ought to know before they open their mouth and remove all doubt.
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