What is conversational waste, and what can you do about it?

In Converation with the Safety Collaborators Podcast

Episode 007

Aug 22, 2022

In this episode...

What is Conversational waste? 

It is one of the greatest hidden costs to organisations and high performance. Conversational waste is when we have conversations that do not generate the action or result we are after or are required to achieve the desired outcome.

So let's run through some examples of conversational waste. 

  • Repeating ourselves
  • Making assumptions that people understood our request or our instruction
  • Jumping into the task or exercise without clarifying expectations or roles 
  • Having to redo, repeat, rework, modify 
  • People say yes when they don't understand because they fear asking questions.

One or all of these can lead to conversational waste, and we are sure you can come up with many more examples from your own experience. 

People don't realise that when we take the time to have good conversations, we save time, reduce risk, and increase efficiency. 

People often ask us why did you waste our time taking those two hours to have a conversation when nothing went wrong. Our response… that's why nothing went wrong. And that's why everything went well because by taking the two hours, you probably saved five, if not more, and ensured that people were doing it safely and efficiently.

Thinking about our work environments, what are they? They are created by humans and operated by humans. And therefore, millions of conversations happen all day long, so let’s have conversations that count and reduce conversational waste. 

Throughout this episode, we discuss what it takes to reduce conversational waste.  

Emotional Gem

We, humans, are emotional beings, and at the end of each session, our gift to you is an insight into an emotion.

Did you know that we have over 250 emotions? Yet, we only understand or talk about +/- 12. By exploring these, you may be surprised at what you learn.

Karin has been studying Emotional Literacy with Dan Newby, the founder of the School of Emotions and references emotional literacy regularly during her coaching conversations.

Today's Emotional Gem is... IMPATIENCE

  • Story: I am ready, but others are holding me back
  • Impulse: (what action does it trigger in us?) To look for a way to speed things up
  • Purpose: Helps us accomplish things more quickly

When we are impatient, we are standing our ground regarding our standards. That does necessarily mean that our standards are logical or helpful, but if we pay attention to our impatience, it tells us how quickly we believe things could or should happen.

You can increase 'helpful' impatience by thinking about what you are missing because of delay, and if delays are patterns, what might you need to consider? What types of conversations are you having? Do you need to change your language or listening?

Consider how you might decrease impatience as it often appears when you need to accomplish something urgently (perceived or actual). Consider your standards or expectations - this makes personal and often based on our perception rather than fact. Check your standards; are they appropriate for the situation? what would happen if you changed your expectation?

Impatience is often triggered more easily when we have a physical need like hunger, thirst, or exhaustion. Are these basic needs being taken care of?

Considering the needs of others, would curiosity or compassion be more appropriate in helping your desired outcome? And therefore taking the need of your impatience.

Consider your state of impatience during your next conversation for action.

Similar feeling emotions are Anger, Frustration, Ambition.


Related Podcasts

  • E010 - Want to have healthy safety conversations? here are 10 tips
  • E011 - How team agreements can stop the busy-ness and improve your life

We use the iPhone app Emote: Mastering Your Emotions to select the Emotional Gem for each episode. (this is a paid-for app)

To learn more about emotional literacy and access the app visit the School of Emotions

About the Show

Our purpose in sharing this podcast is to have a chinwag (conversation) to help people change how they think and behave about safety. 

We do this by engaging in dialogue and testing the levels of trust and psychological safety, which are core to organisational culture. Making safety part of your DNA so that your people speak up, show up, do right, and become safer every day for yourself, your team, and your business.

We will explore topics related to organisational and safety culture, leadership, the language of risk, emotional literacy, psychological safety, conversational agility, intercultural intelligence, and whatever else pops up during our conversations—sharing our experiences and learnings. 

We intend to share nuggets of wisdom that will challenge your perspectives, potentially solve a nagging problem, share actions you can implement, and give you at least one aha moment.

And, if you enjoyed the show and gained value, please share with just one other person to help spread the word.

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