Do you have things going on in your professional and personal relationships that are playing on your mind? Is your boss asking too much of you but you don’t know how to let them know that you are not coping? Are there sensitive things you want to discuss with your partner, but you are too afraid to ask? Is there an issue with a friend that needs to be addressed but you keep avoiding it?
If the answer is yes – then it is about time you had a “Courageous Conversation” – These are the conversations you find awkward to have – a conversation where you speak up and express how you feel about these issues… it’s not about becoming comfortable necessarily, but about effectiveness.
I saw a great quote recently but have no idea who wrote it – “The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment”. I believe that many of us can relate to this!
There have been many times in my younger life when I should have had a courageous conversation but I didn’t. One of the key reasons why I didn’t was because I didn’t know how to say it, what to say and how to manage the emotions that often get triggered by both parties. Fear will also give us good reason to make excuses as to why we shouldn’t have the conversation e.g. “oh it’s not that bad is it?”.
When I learnt some key tools and strategies to use when having a courageous conversation I found it easier to express and articulate my thoughts and opinions in a way that avoided awkward situations, kept emotions under control and cleared up misunderstandings and in the end created much better relationships in my life. I am also known as being a direct, honest and upfront communicator. I have to say it keeps life simple! These conversations will become a bit easier the more you have but it will also take away complications and will lighten your heart and life.
I discovered that taking emotion away from difficult conversations and just dealing with the facts opens up a much better platform to have a conversation. I acknowledge my fear that the other person may react poorly, may say things to me that I don’t like however what I have found that if you keep a steady hand and keep your own emotions under control it seems to help lay a more positive conversation for both parties. It helped me keep focussed on the topic without personalising it with blame or judgment.
I also remind myself that it is ok if we don’t choose to agree with each other – that is the beauty of personal perspective.
In my top tips section below I list some key tips for having these types of conversations but my biggest “be aware” note is:
“The big three blind spots are tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. The listener is very aware of these, the talker is not.”
Remember, that for any situation you encounter there are always multiple perspectives, so be empathetic of the other person and a key in all things to do with life is always be curious – it helps change perspective!