A mix of delicacy and rationality is needed when handling tough talk, and many nuances and subtleties can make or break a productive and practical discussion. The trick is to know how to avoid the fallout and ensure favorable outcomes. Here are the 10 best ways to start difficult conversations and prevent the conflict of opinion!
USE “I” STATEMENTS
Accusing someone may be the last thing you intend to do, but your words may betray you if you’re not careful. As such, you need to utilize “I” sentences to focus on discussing and expressing yourself without blaming someone.
LET GO OF FEARS
With closeness and vulnerability comes the opportunity for being hurt. It’s only natural, then, that all sorts of fears will spring up from it.
TAKE BREAKS IF NEEDED
Maybe it’s not for the lack of trying, but you somehow still find yourself at a dead end with the other party.
Worried about how you can crack open this precarious topic without causing an explosion? Completely overwhelmed with anxiety that stems from potentially hurting someone sensitive? Consider the “bad news sandwich” layout. It consists of: Positive compliments or praise, The actual topic you wish to tackle, More positive compliments and affirmation.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a break to recover from a rough confrontation. However, trying to avoid it or downplay it will only allow things to simmer, making it far more dangerous the next time you boil over.
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LISTEN MORE THAN YOU SPEAK
You may feel like you’re just preparing yourself for a difficult confrontation, but continually thinking and planning what you’re going to say isn’t very helpful. Instead, it often ends with you not listening to what the other person has to say! In reality, there is no need for lengthy script preparation.
FOCUS ON FACTS
Trying to make the other person feel and understand your frustration and anger may make you feel better isn’t productive – especially when both sides try to resolve a difficult problem.
DON’T GET HUNG UP ON BEING LIKED
Isn’t being liked a critical aspect when trying to avoid conflict and deal with difficult conversations? Surprisingly, it isn’t.
CONSIDER THE OTHER PERSPECTIVE
Despite our best efforts, there will always be something we’re particularly sensitive about. From there, it can be easy for you to jump to conclusions and have your fears take off with your thoughts.
BE HONEST AND DIRECT
When you’re uncomfortable, the last thing you’d want to do is openly point out the elephant in the room. Maybe if you ignore it, it’ll go away! However, that never actually ends well. On the other hand, open communication – especially in difficult conversations – can be super helpful.
What was the most sensitive conversation you’ve ever had?
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