Come on. You know you’ve been avoiding it. There just never seems to be a “good time” to have it, right? Avoidance doesn’t work forever; in fact, it will only make it more difficult to communicate as time goes on. Dread, anxiety and disappointment build when you and I avoid “the talk” and that makes it harder for us to speak up as time goes on.
In addition, when we feel those negative emotions, they can steal our focus from communicating to how we can distract ourselves. Cue Netflix!
How can you and I address our differences and still have conversations that will lead us to better connections and results?
We do have a big challenge.
He Said. She Said.
You and I have been there and done that, right? He said this. She said that. “No, this is what happened.” “No, that is what happened”… and it goes down hill from there. We can end up feeling misunderstood, disrespected and alone. Instead creating harmony and connection, we have created more disharmony and can feel alone in the worse sort of way.
AND it doesn’t have to be that way.
(By the way, Einstein had a great experiment that illustrated perspective beautifully. I found a young scientist, Hilary Andales, who did a fantastic job explaining perspective. If you want the science behind why you are both right, check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnJuKXhFaQ8)
THE BOOK THAT MADE A DIFFERENCE
I love learning frameworks that not only help me to become a better coach, but also, learning those frameworks that help me to become a better human being.
Difficult Conversations, How To Discuss What Matters, written by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen, lifts the veil of secrecy surrounding conversational dynamics to give the reader a thorough understanding of how to be more effective in a variety of conversations that could go south quickly.
Written from the “best practices” perspective, they navigate the complexities of our conversations and get to the heart of what really makes us avoid the difficult ones and what to do to make these conversations easier and more successful.
One of the the greatest insights I had was that a difficult conversation is not just one conversation, but actually, three conversations in one! It made perfect sense when they broke down what was going on:
- The “What Happened?” Conversation – Who said what and did what?
- The Feelings Conversation – Are my feelings valid? Appropriate? What do I do about the other person’s feelings?
- The Identity Conversation – This is the conversation we, each, have with ourselves about what the situation means to us
Your point of view does matter so communicate it earlier rather than laterA challenger said this
Another insight that stood out to me, especially as a woman, is that my point of view is valid and I need to share it. I had learned a model growing up that devalued my words and my contribution. How many of us have experienced our points of view being dismissed or ridiculed?
Below is the communication model from the book in condensed form. Please read the book for a more detailed discussion of the following steps and how to apply them to your own situation.
Key Framework to Use When Having the “Talk“
- Data Gathering – Find out what happened from each person’s point of view and how each of you feel.
- Identify Differences – You know Einstein’s Theory of Relativity? Each person’s experience of the same event can be different based on where they are. Describe the problem as the difference between your stories.
- Listen to Understand – Just as your point of view matters, so does theirs. By acknowledging the feelings behind the circumstances and paraphrasing what they say, you can move forward together even if you are in disagreement.
- Problem Solve – What standards do you agree on? What options do you have? What else is possible if you were able to come together or agree to disagree? When you hold the space open and don’t automatically reject another’s idea, you may just come up with a third way.
How much better will your conversations be if you use this four step process? You feel heard and understood. They feel heard and understood. What’s even better is that you are less likely to avoid difficult conversations now that you have the tools to help you be successful in them.
You don’t have to take my word for it! Try it for yourself and see and let me know how it goes.
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And if you want even more, I still have 1 spot left in this round of high performance coaching. You can click this link to Learn more about High Performance Coaching. I want to encourage you to apply. The questionnaire, itself, is a great self discovery tool and may help you think more clearly about who you are and how you are showing up in the world. As always, if you are the type of person who is a good fit for the program, you will get the strategy session to try it out for free.
Thank you so much for reading and until next time, make the most out of the time you have!
With love and respect,
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