Is there a conversation you've been putting off? Is there a coworker or family member with whom you need to talk - but don't? Maybe you've tried, and it didn't turn out as you had hoped. Or perhaps you fear that talking will only make things worse. Whatever the reason, you feel stuck, and you'd like to free up that energy for more valuable purposes.
One of the most common reasons I hear in my workshops for not holding difficult conversations is that people don't know how to begin. Here are a few conversation openers I've picked up over the years and used many times.
I want to discuss something with you to help us work together better.
I think we may have different ideas about _____________. When you have some time, I'd like to talk about it.
I'd like to hear your thoughts on ____________. Do you have a minute?
I need your help with what just happened (or - I need your help with __________). Can we talk?
I'd like to see if we might reach a better understanding about ___________. I want to hear your thoughts on this.
These openers help create an environment of respect and mutual purpose. You can say almost anything if you maintain these two critical conditions.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The art of conversation is like any art - with continued practice, you acquire skill and ease. You, too, can create better working and family relationships, ease communication problems, and improve the quality of your environment. Here are three tips to get you started.
1. A successful outcome will depend on how you are and what you say. How you are (centered, supportive, curious, problem-solving) will significantly influence what you say.
2. Know and return to your purpose at difficult moments.
3. Practice the conversation before holding the real one, either mentally or with a friend. Try out different scenarios and visualize yourself handling each with ease. Envision the outcome you're hoping for.
We all have difficult conversations in our lives, but it's always good to be intentional about prioritizing them. Consider contacting Lewis Life Coach for a free 30-minute consultation where we can debrief on your situation and create a plan to take on any tough conversations you may face in the future. Click here to know more.