How to Power Up in Business Conversations

As a leader in business, there are a lot of conversations that you need to have. Some of them are enjoyable; who doesn’t love landing an exciting new client, getting some terrific feedback, or giving a hard-working employee a well-deserved raise? Other conversations are difficult, uncomfortable, and awkward, such as addressing clients who don’t pay on time or employees or service providers who aren’t performing to your expectations.

Here’s something I wish someone would have told me at the beginning of my leadership career, some 20 years ago: Your level of professional success and personal satisfaction is directly related to your skill level of navigating difficult conversations.

Your level of professional success and personal satisfaction is directly related to your skill level of navigating difficult conversations.

Because most humans have a natural aversion to conflict, many difficult conversations are avoided until you simply can’t take it anymore. Perhaps you tried, but the communication wasn’t effective and did not get you the desired results you deserve.

These conversations are costing you your personal satisfaction as well as your professional ability to create change. In a time where business needs to be innovative and run as efficiently as possible, we must refine how we communicate.

The tools below will support you and achieve your desired result. When a conversation is difficult for you, when your confidence feels shaky, you don’t have the courage to say the bold thing, or when you feel intimidated is exactly when you need to reach for your new tools.

Let’s dig into these difficult conversations, what I call Crunchy Conversations, and learn how to #powerup.

Identify the PowerLeak

In order to Power Up, first, you need to identify where your current power leaks are. You will never Power Up if you are constantly leaking power out.

You can easily identify your PowerLeaks by utilizing your Body Intelligence. Did you know, your body can give you the information quicker than your mind can?

An indicator of your PowerLeaks may be feelings of guilt, resentment, bitterness, or anger as well as any time you experience a physical, body response where your body contracts, shrinks back, gets small, or has that certain UGH, pit in your stomach response.

In order to Power Up, first, you need to identify where your current power leaks are. You will never Power Up if you are constantly leaking power out.

Do you feel a deep desire to procrastinate or do nearly anything else rather than do the necessary hard thing? This is Body Intelligence at work. When you become aware of these feelings and how they manifest for you, you can start to address them.

Action Item: Become aware of what’s happening in your body the next time you’re faced with a hard conversation.

Experiential Learning

Take a moment and close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing so. Scan through everyone you work with on a regular basis: your clients, your employees, your professional service providers like your bookkeeper, CPA, marketing / social media, administrative support, attorney, business coach, business partners, investors, etc.

As you scan through each person, one by one, notice how your body responds. For some people, you might notice how your body lights up or opens up when you think about them. For other people, you might notice how your body contracts, or shrinks back, or EWWWE/UGH response. Those UGH responses are your body’s way of communicating that you have a power leak there.

Action Item: Take a moment to write down what your current PowerLeaks are. Keep it simple with just the person’s name and the topic. It might just say Mary / marketing efforts; Steve / been very rude to me; Debbie / low performance sales; Joe / hoards information.

You might notice your power leak is an absence of something. Such as, if you’ve been putting off bringing on additional support for your business or team, you may notice that your power leak is NOT having someone actively filling that role.

You might also notice that you are contributing to the power leak by being extra irritable, closed off, or paranoid. This could be the absence of self-care practices like enough physical movement, eating healthy foods for you, drinking enough water, getting enough rest, or even things like drinking too much alcohol or overeating. (Ben & Jerry’s should not taste that good!)

Who’s in the Driver’s Seat?

Too many leaders are letting their inner People Pleasers drive the proverbial bus of their business and their life. A client of mine discovered that she’s been letting her Nice Little Girl drive the bus for the last 25+ years of her career! The little girl who was told to smile, to be sugar and spice and everything nice, to not rock the boat, to not make waves, to make others comfortable at all cost. As you can probably tell, this is not an effective way to run your business -- by letting your Nice Little Girl be in charge.

You might have an inner dictator or doormat in the driver’s seat, or you may just be overly concerned with people liking you. Depending on who’s been in the driver's seat your communication tactics may be too indirect and ineffective, or too brash driving people in the wrong direction.

It’s time to let your inner CEO self in the driver's seat. It does not matter if you are actually the CEO or not. Become the CEO of your life, including your portion of your business responsibilities. This requires an entire mindset change: No more People Pleasers, nice little girls, or Dictators leading the business conversations.

Connect into the parts of yourself that have been holding you back; give thanks for their service to you, and move them toward the back of the bus where they rightly belong.

Action Item: Think about your ideal CEO self. There’s a certain gravitas about her, a certain presence when she walks in the room. Think about the qualities of her essence. Think about how she conducts a business meeting or conversation. She’s a powerhouse and has a certain humble swagger to her. This CEO has clear boundaries and speaks up to ensure others know what they are and know when they have been crossed. This CEO self is who needs to be in the driver’s seat. This exactly who you need to be in those business conversations.

What are your PowerLeaks and what boundaries have been crossed? Once you have identified boundaries that need to be upheld, it’s time to communicate your expectations of the other person in a direct, clear, and powerful way.

Now, chances are that you have identified a few crunchy conversations that you need to have and I don’t want to leave you hanging! I have a free resource to help you, Word Tracks to Stay on Track, 5 guideposts for clear, direct communication. It’s a simple one-page “cheat sheet” that will keep you on track for any crunchy conversation you need to have. Snag your copy here.

If you need more than a handout to get going, I have a Crunchy Conversations Coaching package to help you power up in those business conversations when you need it the most. This is 1x1 coaching with me on how to successfully have these Crunchy Conversations, where we will get into all the details and specifics for your unique circumstances. I can even facilitate the crunchy conversation to ensure the best possible outcome for all. If you are interested in exploring this option, book your free consultation to find out more.

As always, I’m here to support you in your leadership journey and to provide the guidance and wisdom I’ve learned along the way. Share this with a friend who needs to hear it and find me on social media for daily leadership nuggets!




In Service To Your Greatness,

Aubrey Armes, PHR


Aubrey Armes is a woman on a mission: To change how business is done.

Passionate about doing business differently, Aubrey brings her 20 years of Leadership, Human Resources, and Professional Coaching experience to the modern business leader.

She's giving leadership teams the right tools and teaching them "how to" elicit high performance, from their teams and themselves. Aubrey takes the disengaged and mediocre and transforms them into energized, high-performing, collaborative teams. Her approach helps leaders and teams achieve radical results through compassionate accountability and create company cultures where everyone can thrive.

28 views0 comments