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The Messenger Chronicles: Effective Communication Strategies for Difficult Conversations [5 Part Series]

The “Messenger Chronicles” consists of five separate learning modules that simulate realistic conversations. The framework used for these scenario-based modules shifts focus away from managing “difficult” people towards an understanding of the process of difficult conversations and accepting responsibility for one’s own performance. Given realistic situations and real-world conversations, learners can experience communication strategies and practical techniques in context. Many of the conversations are split into three sections: Read, Think and Analyze. Learners read a conversation and then are asked to think about certain aspects of the conversation by answering questions or engaging in activities. Further information can be gained from an interactive analysis of the conversation.

Learning Objectives

Introduction and the Four Cs and Be Prepared and Flex Time Fiasco:
• List the four aspects of communication (content, context, conduct, and character) for which individuals are responsible.
• Describe each step in the process of a difficult conversation.
• Describe strategies for effective conversations.
• Analyze conversations in terms of content, context, conduct, and character.
• Become more aware of their individual communication performance and strive for higher levels of performance.

Managing Stress and Time:
• List four symptoms of stress.
• Describe two ways people react to stress.
• List some factors that affect a person’s vulnerability to stress.
• List and describe four ways to manage stress.
• Explain the "myth of multi-tasking."
• Describe how the “Urgent/Important” matrix can be applied to your work.
• List two reasons why a person may procrastinate.

Moving Towards Synergy:
• Describe several strategies for exploring another person's views.
• Recognize elements that make a conversation "safe."
• Acknowledge another person's perspective.
• Describe how to create environments that encourage team synergy.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $225,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.