No matter how hard we may try, there is just no way to steer clear from eventually having difficult conversations.
How often do we find ourselves fighting ourselves: One side of our brain tells us we need to have that “dreaded” exchange, and the other side fires back with monologues that sound like this:
“I need to find the right time”
“I don’t want to be the bad guy/gal”
“With time, the problem will fix itself”
“What is the point? No good outcome will come out of it”
When faced with a difficult conversation, our first response may be to delay it or avoid it altogether. Doing either will negatively impact the situation or the relationship. Conversations become complicated when the stakes and emotions are high, and the parties have divergent viewpoints.
Maybe we should start by reframing the context, renaming them “Courageous conversations”, then go in with some pointers:
- Be open to the outcome. Rigidity is a false starter to any communication attempt
- Separate facts from the story. The story is what we tell ourselves and how others view it with their lens.
- Focus on the “Problem du jour”. Bringing older issues into a discussion further clouds the topic at hand.
- Confirm understanding point of view of others. Telling someone “This seems important to you,” does not mean we agree. We acknowledge the significance of that angle for them .
- It is better to listen more than talk. When talking, attempt to remain positive and empathetic