Difficult conversations: Seek first to understand, then to be understood
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One of the things I find most frustrating is how frequently I hear people tell others to stop talking…stop communicating…when the conversation begins to go south. What a different world this would be if we were able to come together and continue the conversation in a safe space to understand each other. I felt this article did a great job of providing some very useful tips.
All conversations work best when both parties feel respected and able to say what they feel needs to be said. However, creating an atmosphere where this is possible isn’t always easy. And without a doubt, the higher the stakes and the bigger the anticipated disagreement, the harder it gets.
Preparing for difficult conversations is key but when the time has come to talk, keeping in mind a few crucial points will help you to have a respectful and constructive conversation. And if common ground exists, it’ll be much easier to find.
A summary of the key tips:
- Be genuinely curious.
- Avoid blame.
- Always play the ball, never the player.
- Acknowledge emotions.
- Summarise outcomes.
- Follow up.