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Getting and maintaining clarity is a valuable piece of leadership. Too often, however, how we approach our conversations as leaders keeps us from the clarity we really need and desire—and keeps our employees/ customers/clients from the clarity they need and desire.

These eight techniques will help you have better conversations that result in more clarity. Putting any one of them into practice can be really helpful.

1. Eliminate “Why?”

In almost every language, “why” is translated as an accusation. It makes people defensive and is a conversation killer. Instead of “Why,” offer What? How? When? Where?

2. Avoid Yes/No Questions.

Either/or and yes/no questions are not really questions. They are most often self-referencing about our own thoughts and ideas and are rarely genuinely curious about the person with whom we are talking. Binary questions don’t open up the conversation; they limit it.

3. No “Shoulding” on Others.

“Shoulding” on others makes a mess. “Should” is most often shame-based and minimizing. Eliminating this word from your vocabulary creates space for more curiosity.

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