Making Difficult Conversations Easy In a Healthy Manner
It was a few days back when I was trying to put up a conversation with my father and I was able to do everything but start this conversation…
I felt perplexed and tried to interrogate myself as to why I couldn’t start it…
The answer was easy, it is a difficult conversation and there is no way I can initiate it!!!
‘Can a mere conversation be stronger than me & my inner strengths?’
NOPES!!! No Chance!
At that point I rolled up my sleeves and made a list of pointers that would help me achieve the goal of starting a difficult conversation and make it as easy as pie.
So, today I will be sharing my learnings with you that will aid you in handling difficult conversations in a healthy manner…
1. Be in Right State of Mind
Being in a right state of mind is highly important as it is going to have an overall impact on the words you are going to use and attitude that you will display throughout the conversation. Therefore, it is important to have a positive and calm mind before you begin a difficult conversation or any conversation for that matter.
Here are a few ways that can help you to prep your mind…
- Listen to the most soothing music from your playlist
- Spend some time with your pet
- Do deep breathing
- Go out for a walk
- Eat your favorite food or chocolate bar
- Motivate yourself with positive affirmative talks like- I got this, I can do this, etc.
All these activities will help your brain secret happy hormones in your mind, calming you down and forming a positive shield around you.
2. Plan but Don’t Overplan
Now that you are at peace with your own self, it is time to have a clear mindset. The best way to do this is by going old school and jotting the points down. Basically, here we are preparing our mind to be in the moment and convey the message that it is the matter of concern for that given point of time. This will cancel the chances of bringing the past topics into play.
Caution: Don’t over plan and run the entire scenario in your head while making the points. These are just the guiding lights for you.
3. Speak for Yourself
While I was writing the key pointers for myself I noticed a weird pattern. I was writing them in second, or third-person format. Later, I realized that isn’t it my concern or my feeling! Then how can I give the baton of it to someone else?
This bring us to our third step i.e., ‘Using I messages’
For example, instead of saying
You don’t understand me… Say… I can’t make you understand
You make me feel unwanted… Say… I feel unwanted
This helps you speak for yourself and convey your viewpoint in a better and more effective manner. My two additional tips here will be:
It is often quoted that the best kind of communication is assertive, then why not bring it to play? All you have to do is be clear, strong and direct. Make sure you don’t pass any sarcasm or humor.
While being assertive will demonstrate how confident you are with your ideas, thoughts and things to say, your body should also give the same message. Therefore, have right body posture and gestures while you are handling difficult conversation (it will differ widely).
4. Throw Compassion Not Judgements
Often at a conscious or subconscious level we end up being judgmental about the other person in the conversation. Some common statements of judgements that are often passed in conversation are:
- You will never understand
- You are a man/woman/child you won’t understand
- You have not been in my shoes and more
However, this is going to take the conversation in a whole different direction, turning the output against us.
The best solution to overcome this habit of throwing judgmental statements onto others is change into compassion. You can rather use sentences like-
- Can you help me understand why I as a woman/man/child can’t be a part of biker club/beauty club/HIV awareness group (respectively)?
This will in turn make them test their logic, easing out this difficult conversation
5. Reflect Positively
Handling difficult conversation requires one to reflect on it in a positive manner. In other words, paraphrasing what the other person is trying to convey is important as it will serve two purposes viz.,
They will hear again what they are saying
You will know exactly what they want to convey exactly
This eradicates any chances of miscommunication and helps you remain on the same page.
Some ways to use paraphrasing in your communication are:
- What I am hearing you say is…
- Do I hear it right when you say…?
6. Acknowledge The Other Person
After conveying your viewpoints and listening to theirs it is time to acknowledge! Irrespective of the outcome of this difficult conversation make sure
The best act of acknowledge that will help you in handling difficult conversation and ending it the right way is Let Them Have The Last Word!
It might sound difficult to hear and even implement but trust me it will satisfy their self-image and disallow your ego to mess up in the end. This will make them feel being heard, respected, and understood. Thus, they will be encouraged to work with you in a difficult conversation rather than working against you. Think of it as an indirect reinforcement.
With these six subtle steps your ability to handle a difficult situation is surely going to be healthy and effective.
If you are wondering if I was able to achieve the goal to make difficult conversation easy with these steps, then the answer is…
Not only was I able to convey my points to my father in a peaceful manner but he also understood my perspective and agreed on the same!
Happy endings…. (is not really a myth)
Here it is important to understand that the motive is not to make the other person agree on what you believe but rather navigate conflict and have a peaceful conversation. Remember to focus on exchanging ideas and positivity instead of deciding a winner out of it.
Do try the above-mentioned ways of handling difficult conversations in your life and let us know if you could avail any benefit from the same or not in the comment section below.
More peace and power to you…
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