Have you ever struggled to have an important conversation with someone you loved? Or perhaps it was with a co-worker or boss. Having difficult conversations can be tough but necessary to move your relationship (or friendship) forward.
Below are a 8 things I have learned to do to come out on the other side of difficult conversations:
1. Identify key objectives- What do you hoping to accomplish by having this conversation? Write out what you want to say- Avoid long lists of wrong doings and finger pointing and remember the sandwich effect (positive-negative-positive)
2. Write out what you want to say (Avoid long lists of wrong doings; remember the sandwich effect: positive-negative-positive).
3. Listen to understand not to respond– Do your best to see things from their perspective rather than only trying to make your point.
4. Do not cut them off- If you want respect, offer it first by listening to what they have to say.
5. Provide examples of key points you want to make– Perhaps write it down to avoid rambling.
6. Find ONE thing to celebrate about them- Perhaps begin the conversation with… “Since you have come into my life you have made it better and for that I appreciate you. You have added value to me in the following ways _________ (feel free to exhaust this list; it helps remove walls that cause barriers and takes them off the defense and they can relax because you are beginning the conversation uplifting them.) This can be tweaked for an employee or family member. Always begin with uplifting them first before tackling the issue.
7. Avoid trigger words such as “always” or “never”– This will cause someone to automatically form a defensive stance and you won’t get much accomplished because then they can no longer hear you.
8. Commit to listening and learning– Acknowledge that you are both a work in progress
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