07 December 2023
Have you been putting off that difficult conversation?
The one you know you really need to have. Are you afraid of rocking the boat or worrying that you will only make things worse?
Well, you’re probably right, it will continue to get worse or at the very least, won’t go away if you continue to sweep it under the carpet.
So you’ve decided to have the conversation – here are some things you might want to consider before you launch in.
Think about what you want to say and why you want to say it. Just as important, think about what you don’t want to say – if it’s not important then why bother, you will then need to let it go.
Practice what you are going to say and consider how it might land with the other person. You might want to practice in front of the mirror or with a trusted friend. Try to make your message short and concise, above all be clear and try not to muddle your words.
Be bold and just do it! You know it’s important, you’ve practised. Think about your timing and the environment – you might not want to start the conversation in front of others for example. Create the right setting to ensure you have the right impact.
Manage their reaction. There may be a range of reactions and not necessarily what you’ve anticipated. In truth you don’t really know what they may say so don’t waste energy trying to predict this. You will need to manage your own emotions too so that the situation doesn’t escalate.
Give them time if they need it. They have only just heard you and it may take a while to sink in. If you continue to talk to them at this point about what they should do differently then they probably won’t be paying the slightest bit of attention.
Continue the conversation when you are both able to listen to each other, this may be straight away or the following day. Hold your nerve; you have said what you needed to say because you felt it was important, so don’t dilute your message now because you feel uncomfortable.
Remember you wanted to have this conversation for a reason, often it’s the first couple of sentences that are difficult. You may even find that it wasn’t half as bad as you thought it was going to be.