Straight Talk Outline and Practices (2-day)



The Straight Talk Vision

An engaging view of the learning outcomes, and a business rationale for the direct, fair, accountability-based communication called Straight Talk.

The Straight Talk Mindset

Participant pairs discuss where they fall along the Straight Talk Continuum of Passive, Aggressive, or Assertive, explore mental blocks to more constructive communication, and accept personal accountability for increased Straight Talk.

Assertive, Passive or Aggressive?

With negative and positive “Lightning Round” drills, the group learns precise visual, vocal, and verbal behaviors for three classic communication modes.

Assertive Speaking (A.B.C.‘s)

Many energizing activities and drills teach foundational skills of assertive delivery and appropriate honesty versus brutal or non-tactful expression, bias free language versus loaded wording (including curbing “flaming emails”) and checking reactions versus monologuing.

Active Listening (F.E.E.)

Learning Focusing, Exploring and Empathizing skills in intensive drills, including our signature “Fishbowl” format, where the trainer works one on one with participants for direct feedback.

Smooth Sailing Applications

Participants blend core speaking and listening skills with efficient Conversation Formats to (1) gain commitments, (2) consult and advise, and (3) remind about milestones and commitments that may have fallen off-track. Many different activities and drills ground participants in the structure and skills for such meetings



Templates for Tougher Conversations

Throughout Day Two, we provide participants with step-by-step Conversation Formats, tips, skills and extensive practice experience for emotional situations with higher threat:

  1. Giving feedback for improvement
  2. Disagreeing Agreeably
  3. Forging group commitments when you manage resistance or challenges, and
  4. Confronting problem behaviors.
Understanding Defensiveness

Dynamic presentations and activities help the group see dynamics of volatile reactions, take them less personally, and avoid getting “hooked” or thrown off.

Defusing Defenses & Resistance

Fun, dynamic presentations, pair drills and dramatic “live” demonstrations teach proven skills for defusing volatile reactions and refocusing discussions away from manipulative, aggressive reactions. Each participant drills one-on-one with a trainer in a second “Fishbowl”drill.

“Thin Ice” and Empty Commitments

Participants learn to better manage soft, insincere, “I’ll try…” claims to address issues and fix problems they confront. There is a final, cumulative “rough sailing” practice to integrate all the skills.

Building a Straight Talk Culture

We frankly confront the back-home culture and give reinforcement tools such as: Straight Talk Meeting Tools to raise team safety, a course debriefing agenda, action plan sheets, an online assessment to track course results, weekly application e-mails, and scripts for teaching the skills to one’s team.

Lack of interpersonal savvy leads to losses…


Lack of personal accountability

Performance gaps

Less innovation and fewer new ideas

Eroded work relationships due to cop-outs or bullying others

Reduced feedback and conflict resolution

Work climates of resentment versus commitment


Failure to speak up, voice ideas, or get your needs met

Decreased energy and physical health

Lower morale and job engagement

Lower confidence and self respect

Straight Talk is also available as a One-Day Workshop with more drills and applications.