Speaking our truth from argument to communication.
Whether it’s with a colleague, a partner, a friend, or even a family member, we all run up against the classic ‘need to talk’ moments when we have to sort out a problem or even just make something work just that bit better.
For many of us, just the idea of having a difficult conversation is such a scary prospect that we bite our tongues and say nothing, hoping whatever it is will go away. Sometimes it does, but sometimes things can get a lot worse if we don’t speak out, and they can get a lot better if we do!
There are ways that we can make difficult conversations easier.
1/Plan in advance what you need to get across. Not what you want to say – but what you most want the other person to understand at the end of the conversation. From there, you can work backwards to what you need to say to help them understand it. If it’s the kind of conversation where you need them, gather relevant facts and figures to hand. Plan what you want to say and then take out anything that could come across as a personal attack. You’ll lose what you want to get across if the other person feels defensive.
2/ See the situation from their point of view. Remember, no matter how thin you slice something, there are always two sides. Show that you can get how they might see it.
3/Rehearse with someone neutral. If you’ve got a good friend or someone outside of a situation, try going over what you want to say so they can tell you how you’re coming across and whether you’re making sense.
4/Change your feelings. If you’re boiling mad about something, the only thing that you’ll get across is that you’re boiling mad! No matter who they are or what has led to you needing to talk, imagine them bathed in love and see them for the unique, fallible, lovable soul that they are. That will make a huge difference to how you feel about bringing the whole thing up! Your energy will affect them, so if you can come from a place of love and acceptance, they are far more likely to respond favourably to what you have got to say.
5/Signal that you need to talk about something. This means actually saying, ‘I’d like to talk about xyz’. The other person might feel the same as you or they might be totally oblivious, even to something that you see as a glaring, huge issue. Remember, you’ve done loads of planning and thinking about this but it could be coming out of the blue to them. Give them time to respond to the fact that you’ve signalled a problem so they can be at their best when you get down to talking about it.
6/Let go of the need for them to agree with you or see it from your point of view. They might, they might not. Sometimes it’s our fear of the disapproval or lack of understanding from others that can make us reluctant to speak out. It’s a paradox, but the less you need from someone else, the more likely you are to get more!
7/Leave it on a win-win. If you can start a difficult conversation and leave the other person feeling good about themselves, you’re doing your bit to keep the whole cosmic wheel turning.
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