December 5

How to Talk Collaboratively With Anyone | WT #30


I have used this little gem of a collaborative conversation tool daily for 25 years. Conversation focused on the other person is the grist for collaborating effectively.

It helps you keep the conversation meaningful (focused on the other person). You ask the other person about their family or their friends you may know, what they do of interest in their work, what are their hobbies and if you have a business reason for talking to them, share your message.


  • F = family, friends
  • O = occupation
  • R = recreation
  • M = message

Deeper conversation can be created with this tool – ACE. I usually use this if I know the other person or after I’ve learned about them by asking the FORM questions first. You might show appreciation by thanking the other person for being a current member of the army reserves. Connections come from commonalities between two people and acknowledging them. For example, maybe your father was in the military. Finally, say something to raise the other person up, even if it is simply an energized – “make something happen today” encouragement…


  • A = appreciation
  • C = connect
  • E = Elevate

About the author 

Darren Smith

Darren Smith is Co-Founder of the Authentic Leadership Institute. He is a native Texan and a graduate of Dallas Jesuit and Texas A&M University. Over the past 25 years, Darren has visited 35 countries and led 100 strategy programs. He and his wife have five children.


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