Managing Difficult Conversations
August 10, 2020
Handling Difficult Conversations Guidance
Almost all of us have had to have a conversation with someone we were not entirely comfortable with. Be it our personal life or our professional life, some conversations have way too much importance to be ignored or skipped. This might include the times we have had to deliver an unpleasant news to someone, discuss something on a sensitive topic, talk about something that needs to be changed or talk on something that had gone wrong. When we are not comfortable with the idea of having a particular conversation with someone, it takes up space in our mind and distract us from focusing on other important things. So, how do we have the hard talks the right way to ensure that we can get the most out of our conversation:
1. Visualizing the end in mind: Before going in for a difficult conversation, prepare yourself. Plan what you are going to speak on and how you are going to speak on it. Also, plan on how you would approach the concerned person and how will you begin the conversation. Having a stating & end note in mind really helps!
2. Knowing when to stop: While having a difficult conversation, beating around the bush is not a good idea. This is also not a time to seek feedbacks and the other’s opinion before you finish making your point. Therefore, be as direct as possible and to the point to avoid creating any communication gap as well as to achieve your intended end result.
3. Letting body-language influence your thoughts: We often associate one’s body language to one’s state of mind. The opposite is as much possible. If you are not comfortable in the situation, use your posture to shift the discomfort of mind. Light smile, pleasant eye contact, open sitting posture, open palms & usage of hands while talking are often related to positive body language.
4. Listening & Accepting: This isn’t going to be a one-way communication. A matter-of-fact tone can help the other person listen to the content of your message rather than just fixating on your emotions. However, one must be prepared to accept whatever reaction come their way. Listening and accepting others’ emotions & reactions is as much important to the process.
5. Winning with empathy: while one can be direct and precise in delivering the message, but approaching with empathy is not optional. Allowing them enough time to process and recollect themselves as well as answering their questions as to what, why and when, if they have any patiently, becomes one’s responsibility.
The next time you are supposed to have some difficult conversations, keep the above points in your mind so as to make the conversation a little easy on yourself as well as the other person; moreover, to make sure the conversation is productive and well received.