"If everything happens through conversations, then why not master it?"
Carrie Gallant is an executive leadership coach, a negotiation strategist, and our very own Mastermind Member at WNORTH. On top of leading The Gallant Leader™ Institute, she is also one of our Leadership Mastermind Facilitators, where she helps women leaders find more significant influence through impactful conversations.
We sat down with Carrie to learn more about her newly published book “Conversation Secrets for Tomorrow’s Leaders: 21 Obvious Secrets That Leaders Don’t Use Enough“.
Together with Dr. Mindy L. Gewirtz and Steve Hamilton Clark, Carrie shares 21 “not so obvious” secrets to help tomorrow’s leaders embark on a journey of leading effective conversations – at work and at home.
Hi Carrie, congratulations on publishing your book! What made you choose the theme of conversations?
My co-authors and I have worked with numerous leaders throughout our careers – from emerging leaders to established CEOs. And, regardless of the client’s problem, it always comes down to how they’re managing their conversations.
In fact, research shows that more than 75% of work gets done through conversations. And yet, we find ourselves blocked in our conversations or afraid of having them. Because of that, we aren’t achieving the results we want. And so, we decided to bring awareness about conversational intelligence out in the world.
This book was written to empower leaders to build trust, spark innovation and bring people together. We wrote it for leaders who want to leverage the power of conversations into their leadership.
What can we expect to learn from the advice shared in the book?
All of the 21 secrets illuminate the journey that a leader can go on as they develop throughout their career. The book is broken into three chapters – trust, connection, and collaboration. We see those as the fundamental parts of conversations. They leverage off of one another – we don’t get to collaborate effectively if we don’t build trust. And, there’s no trust if we’re not making connections with others.
To come up with genuinely innovative ideas, we need to feel safe to do so. Often, people have an addiction to “being right.” With that, we shut down others, and more so – we shut down ourselves. Trust in communication creates a safe environment to share yourself – to be innovative.
The 21 Conversation Secrets we share in our book aren’t rocket science – they’ve been around. That’s why we call them “Obvious Secrets’ – because people might know of them, but they aren’t using them enough. Their true secret is how powerful they are.
Tell us more about your journey to becoming the communicator that you are today.
I have a strong history in conflict resolution. I spent many years as a lawyer and mediator, bringing parties in conflict together. As a Leadership Coach, I’m certified in conversational intelligence and authentic leadership. I coach leaders to level up their careers by navigating their conversations, managing conflicts, and having effective conversations.
All three of us brought our unique points of view and experience into the book. All of our levels of expertise are layered on each other. I based my parts on what I have learned as a mediator and my conversational intelligence practice.
My co-authors and I saw conversational secrets as a way to lead productive conversations – because if everything happens through conversation, then why not master it?
What's your advice on building powerful yet authentic conversational skills?
We learn how to communicate as children. Looking back, did I learn productive things while growing up? Absolutely. Did I learn unproductive things? Absolutely!
The key is to unlearn those unproductive things and replace them with effective ones. Personally, I learned a new way of communicating in law school – specifically an advisory communication style. Mediation exposed me to another form of communicating because all of a sudden, I was in the middle, trying to bring people together.
I always say to my clients that if you’re learning to be a better communicator in the work context, then use it in your personal life, too. The more you use it, the more natural it becomes. I am a big believer in bringing authentic leadership to the table. And the only way we can be authentic leaders is if we are the same person in all of our interactions.
Knowing your own system of values is a crucial factor of authenticity. If something bothers you, it’s likely because your values are being challenged. I encourage everyone to identify their top five values – and repeat this practice throughout their life. Authentic leadership starts by knowing yourself – and your values – well enough.
Which one of the 21 secrets is the closest to you and why?
The one that is particularly close to me is called “Yes, and..”, which is shared in the Collaboration Chapter.
“Yes, and…” comes from the improvisational theatre. It’s a powerful trust-building exercise where we accept the truth of the person we’re talking to and build upon that.
Think about what happens when you say, “Yes, but..” – what does the other person think? Human beings are wired to notice the negative. So, when we change the “but” to “and,” we look at ways to build something – and that’s when we get to start being creative.
When we bring this technique into the business world, we allow ourselves to show up as our best selves and cooperate with others.
Share with us more information about your Virtual Book Launch Party. Where, how, and what's to be expected?
I’ve just received the copy of the book, and it’s so exciting – it exists! Writing this book has been on my bucket list, and it’s a significant milestone for me.
I posted an unboxing video on our YouTube Channel, 21 Conversation Secrets – and it was a really fun way to share my excitement. In this YouTube Channel, we will be releasing insights into all Secrets over time, so keep it on your radar!
I would love to invite everyone to our Book Launch Party: “Conversation Secrets for Tomorrow’s Leaders.” It’s a free event happening on Thursday, September 23, 2021, at 9 am PST and 12 pm EST. You can register on Eventbrite.
Along with celebrating the book, we’ll also share people’s adaptations of these secrets – so that you can see how they’re used in practice.
Those who join us at our Virtual Launch Party will get exclusive access to super-valuable bonuses that go together with the copy of the book – as well as a chance to win a signed copy!
Where can we buy the book?
I’m pleased to say that all major publishers in the US, Canada, and beyond have picked up the book. The best way to get hold of the book, our Masterclass, and some freebies, is to visit our website 21conversationsecrets.com for more information.
If you’d like to leave a review in the future, visit our Amazon page and let us know how these secrets are showing up for you and how you’re working with them!
The last thing I’d love to share is that our book is not a long read – but it’s certainly a valuable one. One of the significant perks of the book is that you don’t have to read it all at once – you can always go back to the one secret you want to apply to your current situation. I’m confident to say that the book will be an invaluable ally to you as you’re managing conversations throughout your entire life.