From the time the S.H.A.R.E.™ Tools were conceived, October 1984, to the time we published the e-book, January 2014, we had a lot to wrestle with. Our first big concern was whether the Tools worked as we believed they did. So, we went into an R&D mode. For the next few years we developed new courses, tested our assumptions and we were constantly satisfied with how well they worked. Our S.H.A.R.E.™ Tools course ratings far exceeded our regular workshops and our feedback and participant appreciation was exceptional.
Our next concern was to really understand what was actually happening for class participants. We could see and so could the other students that people were making progress in their ability to interact with others. But it was not easy to articulate the benefits. We could be so thrilled by comments from students in our "Getting and Staying Close to Clients™" workshop students, "I am so excited about this work, I can't wait to get home to my wife and try this out." How does one put "thrilled" into words or how do you express "excited" in a way that others can understand what is actually happening?
One of the reasons it took us time to publish the book was the challenge of expressing in writing the combination of emotional achievement, satisfaction, relief, hope, accomplishment, and connection that participants experienced, while at the same time clearly defining the actual conversational actions and activities that were evolving. Conversation is such a personal experience--what do you say after you finally are able to talk to someone you have been hesitant, maybe terrified, to express your feelings or thoughts to? How do you explain what happened, what did you learn, what did they learn, what can you carry forward into your life--was this just a onetime experience?
It was like trying to write a novel based on a movie. The movie is so real on the screen, and in our classes it was just the same experience. We were watching people in role plays and in real life trying out their S.H.A.R.E.™ Tools skills--making mistakes, achieving exceptional results and basking in the achievement and result.
We finally got a big break when we produced our first book draft. It was good enough to share with friends and colleagues. It was a waiting game--we gave our first readers a month to get their heads and hearts around this "masterpiece" and it was well worth it. We had asked people from very different walks of life to read and comment on this book in detail and in general, everything from perceptions to proofing to critiquing. It revealed a great deal--here is a small sample of what our readers said:
“This [book] gave me the tools to be more confident in various situations [and] drive a conversation to a positive outcome.”
“It’s simple and it works.”
“We will use it in our Leadership Programs”
“Absolutely [I would recommend this book]. I know several people who have often spoken to me about the need for better communication. I think my girlfriend and I could do with a copy.”
“Concise, informative . . . and above all . . . helpful to everyone.”
"The S.H.A.R.E.™ Tools have changed my life and improved my relationships at work and in my personal life."
People were able to read about the S.H.A.R.E.™ Tools, understand the concepts and put them in practice. We were getting a stronger sense of what was going on for people using the Tools. It was clear that there were almost infinite perspectives that people could have as they were changing their relationship with communication, conversation and dialogue.
Reflecting back this feedback gave us the same level of motivation we felt that first day the S.H.A.R.E.™ Tools were born on a airplane flight to Dallas and when we first put the Tools into our communication workshop for a professional services firm in San Diego. For all the years preceding the book we were encouraged by seeing and experiencing students working with and achieving great conversations. But, it was not until we had words on a page that we could really know the potential of what these S.H.A.R.E.™ Tools could do.
So we completely redid the manuscript and came at it with a better understanding of what happens and how to express it. We were more confident and clearly inspired that what we had to offer would be understood. Now we selected a whole new set of Readers. We were looking for more truth, more reality and more results.
The results were exceptional--they let us know that they didn't find things wrong per se. What they found and expressed were things that they wanted to add to the equation. They seemed inspired! And, this time we were really getting inspired. We could see more clarity, more appreciation and success. Here are a few examples of what our new Readers had to say:
"It drew me in with the familiar situations."
- "I liked the idea of asking for HELP. I think it really puts the other person in a lower risk and makes it more comfortable for them to elaborate on an idea."
- "It gave me the tools to be more confident in a variety of situations."
- "A breakthrough in positive communication."
- "Awesome, really made me stop and think about myself."
- "It was like living a real life set of examples."
- “A kinder and gentler approach."
- "Not lecturing."
- "I now pay more attention to what I want to say."
- "This is a model of respect--adults taking responsibility for what they say--are you kidding me, this is a fairy tale."
- "A new model for interacting. A way for being heard and hearing others--being respected."
- "Even one S.H.A.R.E.™ Tools Conversation a day sets a tone because of the focus and mindfulness--it will shift you so that you are in your body and present."
We now realized that the tone had changed dramatically. Inspired, you bet. People could articulate what was happening for them. We could see how in a more real way that the results of using the S.H.A.R.E.™ Tools had emotional, intellectual and behavioral impact. It was important for us that people were able to not just understand what these Tools could do but now they could actually make it happen. The Reader comments had shifted from what might happen to what happened in reality.
Now, we don't believe for a minute we can't get better at explaining this experience. We know that as we get more and more feedback from readers as they read Revolutionary Conversations™ and from workshop participants, we will again be inspired to take this to higher levels thanks to our readers and others—you, too, as you read this white paper.