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Hard conversations

Hi, do you find it difficult to have controversial conversations. What is that feeling you get when you hear, "Hey we need to talk"! Is it anxiety, frustration, and fear that come up? Have you ever had to have a hard conversation with your co-worker, significant other, children, or parents? You being the person who has to give the information, providing something that is going on in your life. Do you get a knot in your stomach even thinking about how to address an issue with people you care about? Hopefully this post can assist you in managing those conversations and talks. Talks don't have to be difficult or painful.


What makes a conversation hard? Often times it's hard just starting that conversation. The difficulty in trying to be straightforward but the subject was a complete miss or totally avoided by the receiver. Yes it happens, people will avoid what they deem uncomfortable emotionally and socially. See everyone thinks "just talk about it" is simple and it can be, but is it simple? Truthfully there are people who have a hard time just finding their way into the place of communicating what they need, want or desire. A difference in viewpoints, difference in personalities, insecurities, lacking trust, high emotions, and environment can be barriers. Here are some tips and I am positive you will make it through the conversation and have some understanding when you are done.


1. Keep at the forefront of your mind the heart of the conversation. Think about what you want to say before you say it. Check your motives and your emotions by making an honest assessment. What outcome are you hoping for? Do you need acceptance ? Will you be able to move forward if you do not get the outcome you wanted? Does this conversation only benefit you? Will the talk cause harm?


2. Find a relaxing location, area, or environment where neither party is on guard or defensive. Try maybe a relaxing dinner, a movie, or a nice walk in a public park and be mindful of the words you initiate the conversation with. Calm and relaxed is the best way to ease into a difficult conversation. Never start off with the dreaded words "We need to talk"!


3. Remove distractions like phones, put them in another room or leave them in the car. Make sure you are in a place where others do not walk in interrupting the environment. Turn off the television. If you are playing music make sure its low and sets the tone of the environment. You want to ensure the volume of the music does not overshadow your voice. Be in a place where you both can give your undivided attention.


4. Check the tone of your voice with the intent of your heart on the topic of discussion. Ensure you are not being offensive in posture or emotional by managing your emotions. Do not talk at the person, you are talking to and with a person. Be authentic and caring about your topic and speak with confidence. Be clear in what you are communicating to the other person.


5. Actively listen and hear the feedback of the conversation. Ask them what did they hear you say? Listen to ensure your points of conversation were heard. Don't listen just to respond, listen for content and information. Listen to get their input on the topic and find a middle ground of compromise and agreement if they process quickly. Be open to an equitable solution or release.


6. Allow the other person time to process the conversation if it is a life changing conversation. Everyone's measure of reception of information is different and they may need more time to deal with their emotions and feelings. You know the character of the person you are in communication with.


7. Be willing to accept their reaction without being offended, aggressive, or upset. Process the feedback given to you. Restate what you hear "what I hear you say is...." You have done your part, you had the conversation. Breathe! If you cannot come to a place of understanding, add a third party who is not bias and neutral to both people or situation.


These are just some key points to get you started to have authentic, open conversations about hard issues. Adjust the method as needed based on the person you are talking to. Children require a different environment and tone of voice than adults so keep that in mind. Stay on topic and be open to receive information back.





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