Pragmatic advice for coaches, managers & leaders

The afterlife

When you finish a conversation you can’t possibly know what the impacts of it will be on you or the other person you were talking with. The conversation will have more or less of an impact on

  • how you both feel
  • what you are thinking about
  • what actions you take
  • your mutual senses of confidence, capability or even self-esteem


Your conversation will, as Pearce (2007) describes, have an ‘afterlife’. It will go on even when it appears to have ceased being. Great orators know this. Think of the impacts of Martin Luther King Jr, Ghandi or Winston Churchill. Some of their phrases and parts of their conversations not only stirred nations, they are used (and abused) long after they have shrugged of their own mortal coil.

It seems clear then that the effects of any one conversation can have a life all of its own, long after we have engaged in it. The point is, how well are you managing that possibility and how aware are you of the possible impacts of any conversation that you have, at any point in the day?

Awareness Plus

I hope that by raising your awareness on this topic that alone will help you manage conversations better. In case you need a bit more support however, here are some further thoughts on how you can ensure a positive impact:

  1. Be more mindful of the words you choose and the tone you adopt
  2. Check you are in the right state for a conversation. If you aren’t then delay having it until you are
  3. Be clear before you start what afterlife you want to create for your conversation
  4. Check in (not too often) during and after to make sure it landed the way you intended
  5. Take a moment after key discussions to reflect on how you did and what you need to keep working on

Glenn Wallis is an experienced Executive Coach and Coach Developer who will help you improve your own results and those of your organisation. When you are ready to  raise your performance to the next level, find out more here