Do people need to be ready for Straight Talk?

Is this what we think Straight Talk looks like? It’s not. Read on.

How do you describe Straight Talk to someone else?

I’ve had a few people ask me how to use Straight Talk when the people around them “aren’t ready for it.” After some pondering, I realized that was actually a signal. It meant I needed to do a better job of defining and explaining Straight Talk.

The confusion over Straight Talk

Some confuse talking straight with a bold, brash style. Telling someone like it is, whether they like it or not. A blunt approach taken without concern for others.

That’s not straight talk. That’s being a jerk.

Worse, that sort of approach creates friction. The type of friction that erodes value and increases the cost of connection.

What is real Straight Talk?

Straight Talk is a direct, plain, and honest manner of communicating. Choosing simple over complex. Honoring your audience by translating complexity into comprehension.

The truth is people crave real Straight Talk. Instead of getting lectured or “put in their place,” they want to take part in the process.

Straight Talk gives people a voice. Especially when it’s consistent, transparent, and open. It brings people together. Draws focus on what matters. It leads to action.

But Straight Talk is more than how we talk.

Straight Talk: a mindset, a skill set, and an experience

At the core, Straight Talk is a mindset, a skill set, and an experience:

  • Mindset: understanding the right questions and system(s) are more powerful than correct answers. The structure to guide focus on what matters with an emphasis on value.
  • Skill set: a set of actions and the manner in which you offer and get straight talk — for yourself and with others. It is an acquired skill. And it gets better with practice.
  • Experience: choosing process over cut and paste. Embracing the experience to get Straight Talk. Realizing that offering Straight Talk is an experience. Especially when you use it to bring people together.

Straight Talk is an ethos

A quick search on Google to “define ethos” explains it as:

“the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations.”


Straight Talk works for the individual, the team, and the organization. It offers an effective way to operate across the layers.

Healthy environments rely on Straight Talk. It creates the environment to unleash innovation. It allows people to thrive, inspiring us to do our best.

Straight Talk is a way to bring people together and give people a voice — without wasting their time. To avoid jargon in favor of mutual understanding.

And to choose dialogue over debate. Because being right is not important.

What matters is finding the right answer for the situation.

Straight Talk is a Framework; a system for success

Straight Talk chooses simple over complex. Simple is not always easy. It takes a system to guide use and development of the mindset, skill set, and experience.

The Straight Talk Framework is that open, transparent, and consistent system.

The best part?

Straight Talk doesn’t compete with other approaches.

It’s not a “my way or the highway” system to learn. The Straight Talk Framework distills “universal truths” and powerful practices to their essence. There is no single or right way to use the framework. And that’s how it takes value-destroying friction out of the system.

Straight Talk is the antidote to friction.

Friction erodes value. It increases the cost of connection and grinds progress to a halt until it causes failure.

The antidote to friction is structure.

Straight Talk is the structure we need to:

  • Make better decisions faster to unlock (more) value
  • Knock down barriers and build stronger connections
  • Keep priority programs and efforts moving forward

Straight Talk clarifies focus and prioritizes effort. It builds the confidence to take the best next step.

Straight Talk is attainable

Straight Talk is not an innate skill you are either born with or not. It’s not a lofty goal out of reach for most.

Often, straight talk is about unlocking what you already know. A (sometimes different) way of thinking, acting, and communicating with others to get results.

People don’t need to be ready for real Straight Talk. We crave it.

When we offer Straight Talk to others, we make it easier for them to talk straight with us. Working together, we can all get the Straight Talk we need.

A version of this article originally appeared on


Want to break down barriers, build connections, and get results?

It starts with Straight Talk. Take the free 7 Steps to Straight Talk course. Learn how to to apply the Straight Talk Framework to your most pressing issue and take your best next step in 7 days or less. Click here to start now.

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