Dinner Meeting Reviews
Speaker Tatum04-300x236Our June 19th 2019 dinner meeting featured our own DAFer Cliff Tatum. After an early stint as an actor, Cliff joined the ROTC, and then became a combat fighter pilot for the Air Force, and later for the Navy. He continued his aviation career as a captain for Alaska Airlines. On reaching the magic age he was not ready to retire from aviation, so he continued his career flying worldwide as captain of a G-IV.

To better understand his crew interaction experiences, Cliff earned a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. Cliff coupled his academic training with his broad aviation experience to help himself and his peers understand the psychology of human interactions in multi-crewed cockpit situations. Using experiences gained as a crew and his formal research in conflict resolution, Cliff created this dinner presentation for us: "Conversation and conflict resolution in the cockpit".  

Cliff explained that there are three main decision-making elements that affect cockpit (and other) conversations: headwork, personality, and attitude. In spite of all the headwork, the end game in cockpit conversations is often set by the Pilot In Command's personality and attitude. This affects the PIC's tone, and tone alone, as much as facts, can lead to disagreements and delays when resolving interesting and urgent flight situations.  


During dessert, as a bonus, Cliff administered a multiple-choice self-evaluation test to the dinner guests. He taught us that while our answers could range from 1 (that's not me) to 5 (that's me), we should never answer with a 3 (I am not sure who I am). This helped us bias our answers towards either end of the range so that we would paint a clearer picture of our own conflict resolution strategies. Cliff then read "parables", and we wrote down how well each parable described ourselves. The pattern of our answers, digitally (using our fingers) processed by each guest, lead to each individual getting a clear picture of his or her own conversational style.

Cliff’s presentation was not so much about determining other persons' styles of conversation as it was about learning our own style, By knowing ourselves better, we can minimize conflict in conversations in the cockpit.  What is your style of conversation?