Mar 2015: Conversations That End Well [because they begin well]

Sometimes, you just don’t know how to get the words out right and the simplest statement can create a complex and heated argument. Here are some ways to start difficult conversations and really communicate your opinion or concern without trampling over the feelings or ideas of the other person.

  • Orient yourself to the belief that the other person is “for you”
  • Practice using a ‘soft start’ when talking about difficult or annoying things
  • Speak words of gratitude to the person, including why you are grateful
  • Use humour to diffuse tension, but don’t use it to gloss over or ignore the issue
  • Respect the person’s feeling-state, even if you can’t solve the problem
  • Develop grounds rules of communication that are compassionate and fair
  • Use relaxation practices to diffuse your negative emotions and responses
  • “Share the air” and ‘hold the space’ for genuine discovery and understanding
  • Refrain from excessive telling and re-telling of faults and problems
  • Refrain from blaming, naming, and shaming (focus on behaviour, not character)
  • Refrain from these communication styles: defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism
  • Recognize and respect how fatigue and stress can influence your mood, behaviour, and ability to process or respond positively [and recognize it for other person too]
  • Create a non-verbal symbol to indicate a time-out to cool down

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