Though confronting, having difficult conversations can be catalysts for growth, while also building better relationships, trust and respect.
Next time you encounter a challenging exchange, consider these three strategies:
Create a safe space:
Every individual values the right to openly express their thoughts and concerns without fear of judgment or repercussions. You can create this environment by the simple act of offering your undivided attention. When the other person is speaking, set aside distractions or the urge to make your own points.
Apply full body listening without interrupting. This is the time to show you are listening rather than rushing to make your own point heard.
While it’s natural to be rooted in our own perspectives, challenging conversations necessitate empathy so that the other person can feel heard, understood, and valued.
Achieving this connection will help guide a more meaningful conversation towards a solution or resolution.
Discover common ground:
It’s much easier to navigate a difficult conversation when there is a shared goal, and reiterating that objective can unite all parties.
Consider what it is that everyone in the conversation wants or needs. You will usually find common ground.
Keep emotions in check:
Emotions are highly contagious, so if you enter a difficult discussion with your emotions laid bare, it’s likely things will derail pretty quickly.
Pay careful attention to your tone of voice, body language, and choice of words. Non-verbal cues can wield significant influence over how your message is received. Strive to maintain a demeanour that conveys respect and receptivity.
The goal is to respond, not react.
Words like “I’m disappointed” or “You could have” can come across as accusatory. Instead, focus on stating facts, seek the other person’s perspective, and share your own experiences.
If emotions flare up, take time to pause and compose yourself before continuing.
In essence, don’t shy away from difficult conversations; they need to be had to keep things moving forward. By approaching the conversation in the right way, you, your team, productivity and company culture will benefit hugely.