Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Simple Tips to Difficult Conversations - Know What You Want!

Have you ever had to have a conversation with someone, about something very important, but were scared to death to do it, because of the potential repercussions? Or have you ever had a conversation that started sweet and innocent, but then became divisive and emotional, when you least expected it?

I think there are two types of people in the world, when it comes to these questions - those that have faced these struggles in the past. . . and those that will - someday in the future.

Difficult, stressful conversations, that can become life altering happen everyday. How we handle them is often the difference between success and failure - regardless of who you are.

No matter where you are in your life, difficult conversations can be the most stressful and tasking thing that we, as compassionate and feeling human beings, face. There are things that we know we need to share with others, but our fears of what might happen, seem to always prevent us from actually doing anything about it. Until it's too late.

Regularly, I have clients ask me what to do in this situation. And much to their frustration, I ask them a simple question in return . . .

What do you want?

As simple as that may sound, knowing what you want at all times when these difficult conversations come up can be the difference between a happy ending or one that is far "less than happy". The problems arise, when you forget what you want - what really matters to you - and you don't keep those desires in the fore front of your mind.

Do you want to get into a fight about it? Of course not. You want to come up with an amicable solution.

Is it your intent to make someone else feel bad by telling them something very personally difficult to hear? Definitely not. But you do want to help them understand the truth and help them resolve the issue if they want to.

The trouble is most people don't know what they want, so it's nearly impossible for them to think about it when they are in the midst of a very trying situation. And even when they think they do know what they want, they often haven't dug deep enough to know what is most important to them - instead of just the surface "feel good" stuff.

So, when you are about to have a difficult conversation or maybe even find yourself in one already, stop yourself and think for just a second, "What do I really want to come out of this conversation?" Do you want to resolve the problem or issue so that everyone wins . . . or do you want to be right?

Once you know the answer and focus on it, I think you'll surprise even yourself how you handle the conversation.

1 comment:

  1. Love the last line :) - I think you'll surprise even yourself how you handle yourself. Laughed out loud on that one. I think conversations can be difficult when we have an attachment to a certain outcome. This usually stems from fear - I like how you offer a solution to that. Change the focus to what it is I want. Then move forward... I wonder if starting the conversation that way would work? I want us to communicate openly about -(state the subject or concern) and go from there ... Hmmm :) Thanks for the great post JJ! @authenticstyle