The Way to Say It is about more than just choosing the right words. It’s also about what NOT to say and how NOT to behave. It’s about conversational habits we need to break and remove from our difficult conversations.
Many of these behaviors are so habitual we don’t even realize how they block powerful communication and sabotage our very efforts. Each of these 25 habits undermines trust, creates distance and keeps us from our conversational goals.
What’s the point of stepping into a difficult conversation only to make things worse with your attitude or tone of voice, or even passive-aggressive behavior?
Learning to master difficult conversations takes effort. Make sure your tough talks don’t include any of these bad habits.
Here are the behaviors that need to go:
- Blaming others while believing we are guilt free
- Using a sarcastic tone of voice
- Blind siding with a surprise attack
- Taking a defensive stance
- Attacking by using “you” statements
- Avoiding the actual subject
- Dancing around the issues with implications and vagueness
- Pretending all is well
- Fighting dirty with name calling or intentionally hurtful dialog,
- Talking over others
- Being a poor listener
- Playing the “I’m right, you’re wrong” card
- Saying the right words with the wrong tone
- Wanting to prove your point rather than resolve issues
- Making the issue public
- Not owning your stuff, your feelings
- Dismissing others’ opinions
- Patronizing and belittling others
- Interrupting others’ talk
- Not acknowledging honest effort of others
- Being dishonest
- Withholding the truth
- Avoiding eye contact
- Multi-tasking rather than being present
- Making excuses for your behavior
Which of these habits are yours? Most likely some, if not many, of these habits are things you have done when conversations are challenging. We all do. Especially when we’re angry, hurt or impatient. To really lean into tough conversations and create dynamic, clear, honest connection, we need to eliminate these behaviors.
It may not be reasonable to expect to break all your bad communication habits, after all we generally learn them from our families and these habits go back years. But that is no excuse for continuing what is counter productive. One by one, we can learn the way to say it with respect, without tone, listening and owning our part and really breaking through to resolve issues and create powerful results.
First, we need to raise our awareness so we realize which destructive communication habits are ours. Once we identify the communication styles that are hampering our success, then little by little we can substitute a healthy alternative that fosters trust, builds connection, and breaks down barriers rather than creating new ones.
It’s a new year! How about starting off by observing your communication habits and admitting which ones are killing your communications?