HOW TO HAVE BETTER CONVERSATIONS…THE TOUGH ONES
We need to talk. Wait, what? No one wants to hear those words, right? It doesn’t matter if it is coming from a significant other or your boss, the feeling you get is the same.
Your heart begins to race a bit, you start to run through a list of reasons they might want to talk. Worst case scenarios begin to play out in your mind the longer the delay from the announcement of the “talk” to the actual conversation.
By the time you actually get to have the conversation you may have completely escalated things in your mind.
A BETTER WAY
To begin with, let’s just all agree to never say the words “we need to talk” again. Deal? Ok, now that we’ve established that we can move on to the trickier bits of navigating challenging conversations.
No one wants to have conflict or difficult conversations, but they are a fact of life. Understanding that and knowing how to manage them in a more effective and healthy way can actually improve the quality of your relationships.
For many people the default when conflict occurs is to ignore it and hope it goes away. Rarely is this an effective strategy. Most often what occurs is the issue continues to occur, often becoming worse, until you are forced to deal with it.
Instead of waiting until you can’t handle it anymore, I am going to suggest being more proactive in your future conflicts.
TWO EASY STEPS
Improving your ability to have challenging conversations takes a little work but it is absolutely worth it and the best part…you’ll see improvement in every area of your life by implementing these suggestions.
1. Be Specific – Have you ever felt misunderstood in a relationship? At work? After a meeting? Did you take the time to think about why this might be? We have a tendency to assume people understand what we are thinking and feeling far too much. In reality they are often coming from a completely different point of reference.
The more specific you can be about your expectations, needs, and what you are trying to communicate, the better.
For example: Don’t say “I want more connection from my partner”. Connection for you might mean something completely different to your partner. Describe to them what you might be looking for.
Do you want to have more conversations about the future? Do you want to have more “date nights”? What does “connected” mean to you? Define it.
2. Be Ready – This might seem obvious, but how many times have you started a conversation when you were heated, or even outright angry about something. This is not the time to discuss things. Your brain is literally partially being shut down and not functioning at its optimal level.
I am suggesting you table the discussion until you have had a chance to calm down and think, in a rational way, about what you really want to discuss.
This will give you the best chance to address things in a calm and confident manner. Instead of angry and yelling, saying things you might regret, and not accomplishing what you set out to.
No one loves conflict and having challenging conversations, but we all have to go through them. Why not find some ways to get better at them? In this post I have given you two actionable steps that you can begin implementing today to help you improve your communication.
I have many more communication tools that I teach my clients. If this is an area that you struggle with, get in touch. Click the link here to schedule your complimentary call. I’d be happy to explore working together.