Hard conversations are…well…hard. They’re hard for the person initiating it and the person on the receiving end. It can be uncomfortable and emotional, so we avoid it at all costs. And then it gets worse – either with that person or in many cases, we get another opportunity to try again and change the pattern. It’s a cycle. And every time, it’s uncomfortable. And every time, we fantasize about it magically going away. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
But what if there was another way? What if we treated people like people and had the hard conversations from a place of compassion? Not just in business, but in our personal lives. We hide behind our screens and handle it by ghosting, avoiding, blocking and unfriending. In some cases, that is the answer. But in many cases, it’s the excuse.
Here are three things you can do to shift those hard conversations into heartfelt ones…
1. Think about your intention. What’s your desired outcome? Is it to be heard? Understood? Understand? Keep the relationship in tact?
I find that when I state my objective in the beginning, it shows the other person where I’m coming from and that I genuinely want to work together to reach a resolution that is respectful and agreed upon. I’m also never afraid to say, “This is uncomfortable for me, too” so the person knows we’re in it together.
2. Focus on the facts. This is hard for a lot of people, because by the time we get to this point we’re already emotional. But when you approach a conversation from an emotional place, you get an emotional response. That’s when things get said that can’t be taken back or it becomes personal.
If you need to, write it all out for your eyes only. Emotions and all. Then go back in and delete all your adjectives. Keep it factual. Instead of, “Would it kill you to look at a clock?”, say, “Would it be helpful if we moved you to another time so you can benefit from our scheduled time together?”
3. Get All Freaky Friday. It’s very simple. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If someone was having a difficult conversation with you, how would you want this person to talk to you? Start from a place of compassion.
If you start with these three simple steps, it will change your conversations and strengthen your relationships.
It’s not easy having tough convos, I know.