Wednesday, December 13

How to Handle Difficult Conversations

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 Have you ever been on the receiving end of a comment wondering “Where the heck did THAT come from?”
Have you ever kicked yourself for saying something you really didn’t mean?
Has anyone ever misinterpreted what you were trying to say?
Have you ever been in a conversation that took a bizarre unrecoverable down-hill detour?

Oh, the multiple ways in which a simple a giant web of a no-longer-simple misunderstanding. Assumptions piled on assumptions. Lots of detangling, lots of debating, lots of stress and anxiety result when a conversation takes a detour into the abyss of confusion, anger, frustration or stress.

One thing leads to another and the next thing you know you’ve stepped into a mind field. You don’t know how you got there and you have no idea how to get out.

It doesn’t have to be that way. All you have to do is reach to understand what’s really going on so you can speak to the heart of the issue at hand.

Here’s a quick tip to understand and keep conversations firmly and calmly placed in reality:

Listen to how a person FEELS rather than to what they SAY.

Notice how you FEEL and the words you utter before thinking.

Remind yourself of your why – why you’re having the conversation in the first place.

What is it you really want? What are you unable to say?

What might the other person want? What is he/she having trouble expressing?

Listen with your heart, not just with your head.

Respond from a place of love, compassion and a sincere desire to understand. Be willing to look at what’s going on from another’s perspective. Acknowledge and honor their truth with compassion even if you don’t agree with that viewpoint.

You can say what you mean, mean what you say, without being mean.

Instead of reacting to what upsets you by ‘making someone wrong, validate the other’s position as you let them know how that stand makes you feel. Calmly express your truth in a way it can be heard and understood.

Be willing to speak straight from your heart instead of spewing the babblecrap that sometimes spews from your head.

You’ll find strength in your ability to be vulnerable.

Your conversations will become more truthful, meaningful and productive.

You will be heard to the extent you are able to hear.

Give it a try. Let me know in your comments, how this tip helped you navigate a difficult conversation.

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