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When we learn MI we become comfortable asking questions such as “How ready is this person for change?” But how often do we stop and ask ourselves “How ready am I for this client?”

And while we spend time learning what to say or ask, the most fundamental skill in MI is the skill of listening. Deep, focused, wholehearted listening. Yet we are often trying to have meaningful conversations with a head full of distractions.

So perhaps it is what we do in the five minutes before the conversation starts that might really make a difference.

In the gym we warm up before our workout. We start our piano practice with scales. We wash or chop the ingredients before we start to cook.

The preparation helps us to be ready to move into more complex skills. It’s also a time to observe where we are at – what feels good, what doesn’t and what we might need to pay attention to.

So what is your pre conversation warm up?

How do you check in with your hopes, concerns or expectations for the conversation ahead?

What helps you to slow down, clear your mind and become truly present to the human you are about to meet?

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” Thich Nhat Hanh