Stop Avoiding Your Difficult Conversations, Clean the Slate

clean slate 2In some stories, feelings change or circumstances change. Connections, employment, and friendships end with no warning. There’s no explanation. Nothing is ever said.

One woman told me a dear friend of ten years suddenly stopped calling. When she reached out to see if all was well, her calls went unreturned. She never heard from her friend again.  Years later she still feels hurt. She still wonders.   

A painting contractor told me of a long-time trusted employee who worked for him. One Sunday he called this man to review the week’s schedule. The man wasn’t available.  He didn’t call back. The contractor never heard from his employee again, even though the family confirms the man is fine.

Another woman shared that she talked with her out-of-state nephew by phone about his visiting her. One day she emailed him to confirm dates. No response. Repeated efforts to connect went nowhere. He is still at the same address and phone, but two years later she has not heard back.  She’s still hurt by the lack of response or explanation.

A young client was asked by a college friend to be her bridesmaid one year later.  She gladly said yes. Two years have passed since that day, yet my client has still not heard back from her college friend in spite of efforts to connect. She, too, wonders what happened.

On more than one occasion in my corporate career, newly hired employees didn’t show up for their first day of work. Instead, they became unreachable. They never responded to phone calls, never provided an explanation.

The stories are endless in both personal and business settings. They happen on the job. They happen with family members. They happen with friends.

In each case somebody wonders what changed. What happened? What should I do? In time, most people move on and let go, but until they do, it’s confusing, painful and stressful.

don't say nothingAnd it’s all because we’re afraid to face tough conversations. We’re afraid to “just say it.” Usually the excuse is we don’t want to create hurt feelings. But, usually, the truth is we don’t know how to say what needs to be said and we just don’t want to feel so uncomfortable.

What strikes me as so ironic is that when we avoid the conversation to avoid hurting feelings, the other person is hurt anyway. They don’t know what to think. They have no closure or explanation, and there’s no opportunity to learn to avoid a similar situation in the future.

Skipping a difficult conversation does not spare feelings! It does not avoid hurt. It simply avoids your discomfort. Take a stroll down memory lane in your life. What challenging conversations have you skipped to avoid hurting someone, or to avoid your own awkwardness.

It’s never too late to clean up mistakes or misunderstandings. Consider reaching out to people you’ve left hanging. Clean the slate. You don’t necessarily have to rekindle the relationship, though that’s an option. What’s important is saying what didn’t get said and creating closure for both you and them.

Just dive in. Have that difficult conversation you've been avoiding.

Just dive in. Have that difficult conversation you’ve been avoiding.

 

I can honestly make these recommendations because I have had these difficult conversations. I have asked hard questions when I didn’t understand someone’s silence. I have gone back and shared my perspective where I had unfinished issues. I’ve cleared things up years after there was a falling out.

And every time I face a difficult conversation, the payoff is worth it. There’s relief.  Stress vanishes. Relationships improve. Conflict diminishes. And every single time, there is some positive element of surprise.  Some bonus I didn’t expect.

Everyone benefits…but especially you! Isn’t it time YOU jumped into that difficult conversation you’ve been avoiding? Just do it!

Put on Your Big Boy Pants: Have that Tough Conversation NOW

road block

Road blocks to difficult conversations exist only in your head!

What’s stopping YOU from having the difficult conversation lurking in your head?  

Is it……?

Procrastination……Fear of rejection……Fear of anger……Embarrassment……Not knowing the way to say it……Fear of reprisal……Shoot the messenger fears……Your own discomfort…..You’re afraid you’ll be emotional……Your fear of their reaction–uh oh!……Not wanting to face the truth……You’re STILL waiting for the right moment……Your refuse to own your own your stuff..….Fear you might lose control……They should come to YOU…..Certainty that YOU’RE right……You are much too hurt……You don’t believe in talking about such things……You can’t admit you were wrong……You’re waiting for THEM to go first……You just don’t know where to begin……You tried already……You think, “Oh, it will all just blow over”……You don’t believe it will make a difference?

ostrich

Is this you?

Whatever the reason is (or reasons) for your delay, the end result is the same. Nothing and I mean NOTHING improves when you avoid an uncomfortable, difficult conversation regardless of all the excuses you make in your head.

According to J.D. Schramm in Harvard Business Review, “Often our fear of having the conversation with somebody about a sensitive subject can be worse than having the conversation itself. We put off bringing up a tough subject because we are waiting for the “perfect opportunity.”

But the uncomfortable truth, the truth we all know, is this:  there is no perfect opportunity. If we wait, the conversation will never happen.

We have to just put on our big boy pants and do it. WE need to make the first move regardless of who spoke last, or who we think is wrong, or exactly what happened, or who we think SHOULD reach out first. We need to take a breath and begin.

go sign

Follow these tips to help you get started on that difficult conversation you’re avoiding:

  1. Write out your thoughts – If time allows, write. Write how you think you’d say it, without the anger and without the judgment. Consider it brainstorming. You’ll find both things not- to-say, and things very well said. Use your writing as a guide.
  2. Make a commitment.  If you’ve been procrastinating, set a time frame. Say to yourself (or even better, to someone who will hold you accountable) I’ll have this conversation by tomorrow, two days from now, a week from now. Just set a date that is close enough to break through your procrastination.
  3. Come up with a few good openers. Make sure you have one or two good opening lines to start off the conversation. Rule of thumb is:  be real, express yourself honestly (even if you have to say you are somewhat nervous), and be direct. Get right to what you want to talk about. No beating around the bush.
  4. Keep it private. If the topic is stressful enough to qualify as a tough conversation to you, regardless of what anyone else thinks, then privacy is a must. Never begin one of these talks in earshot of others, unless they, too, are part of the conversation.
  5. Tolerate imperfection. These talks are challenging. That means they often won’t be perfect. With that in mind, congratulate yourself for facing the issue instead of judging yourself for not saying it perfectly.  Even an average job of a difficult conversation IS an accomplishment.

None of us can avoid difficult conversations in life. They are a part of life. Unless you are a hermit, you might as well begin to develop this skill now.

Instead of avoiding the conversation, you’ll avoid the drama that unexpressed issues create. Problems, misunderstanding and disagreements not brought to light, create relationship issues and ongoing stress. As Kevin O’Leary (also known as “Mr. Wonderful” from The Shark Tank), would say, “Stop the madness.” Have the conversation and the sooner you do, the easier it will be.

Why Difficult Conversations Require a Balance of Honesty AND Kindness

got balance

The strongest relationships weather storms. They deal with conflict, disagreement. They aren’t always pretty, but they are always real.

Healthy conversations are the same. Truly healthy conversations are based on honesty AND kindness, not one or the other.  Like a chair with a missing leg, conversations that don’t value both characteristics are bound to collapse at some point. Healthy conversations cannot exist without the weaving of both honesty and kindness into them.

With only kindness, our conversations  avoid issues.  Anything that might cause pain, discomfort, hurt feelings, anger or conflict will be skipped in an effort to be kind above all else.

The moment kindness trumps truth, we pay a price. Every bit of information that appears “not nice” gets sugar-coated, or toned down, or simply censored altogether.  Such watered-down communications are inauthentic, too worried about sensitivities. Like the famous line in the movie, Top Gun, we “can’t handle the truth!” Waving the flag of kindness, we gloss over  anything that might cause the smallest blip.

But everyone pays a price when the hard truth is avoided. Communication floats over the surface. It avoids. Conversations based only on kindness are weak, filtered, and rarely very truthful, entirely avoiding what matters most.

The reverse is also true. Honest conversations that lack kindness are just as unbalanced and ineffective, but to the other extreme.

Conversations that value ONLY honesty have the potential to be brutal, hurtful and insensitive to feelings.  In my head I still hear my dad bellowing, “Well, I have to be honest!” as license to voice his opinions thoughtlessly as if honesty made it ok. It didn’t. It always hurt.

honesty kindness

Honesty and kindness need to be married into conversation to create healthy communications.

Together, the pair is powerful.  By speaking the truth we express what matters, what’s real. We get to issues. We have the opportunity to work through the awkwardness, the difficulty and come to understanding.

It isn’t always pretty or comfy but delivering communications with kindness AND honesty means we will not sidestep an issue. We will not ignore the truth simply because it might be upsetting.

What we will do, however, is opt to speak truthfully AND graciously with awareness.  Awareness of how it might sound and feel.  We’ll speak our words truthfully AND with thought.

By being honest, we face challenges and gain understanding.

By being kind, we deliver our communications thoughtfully and with awareness.

Combining the two qualities in the office and at home that takes practice and commitment. It takes courage to always speak the truth, knowing it might be difficult to hear.  Knowing it will feel great when we’re through the conversation encourages us to speak up. It’s a great motivator.

Do you struggle more with the “being honest” part of healthy conversations? Or is your challenge being sensitive and aware of others’ feelings?  Not sure? Just ask someone close to you. I promise, they’ll know and if you ask, they’ll tell you. Let me know you’re out there, tell me what you think. Agree or disagree?

 

Office Talk: Ten Changes to Make Now

watch your mouth

 To immediately improve your communications at home and in the office, make these “don’ts” rules to live by.

Don’t begin sentences with “honestly, truthfully, frankly, or to be honest.”  Doing so implies that what you said before might not be honest. If you are honest in your communications, you will never need to say so. Your words will speak for themselves.

 

Avoid adding “but” between sentences. Use “and” instead. “But” negates everything you said before it.

 

Don’t use absolutes like “you always” or “you never.”  It’s rarely true and doing so exaggerates, quickly making people defensive.

 

Don’t let your tone and body language contradict each other. Get all aspects of yourself in line. If your tone is carries a different meaning than your choice of words, your listener will always go with the tone.

 

Don’t be a steam roller  OR  a pushover.  Neither extreme is effective in business or in relationships. Find a balance of being firm and assertive, while also being open and flexible.

 

Don’t “collect stamps” saving up old “wrongs” to use later as surprise attacks in conversation. Deal with issues when they occur. Don’t collect them for later. Stuffing issues only makes them fester and expand.

 

Don’t beat around the bush. Good communications can be challenging enough. Don’t complicate things by beating around the bush and making your listener work to figure out what your words mean.  Just get to the point with direct, clear statements.

 

Don’t deliver your feedback and bad news in a “sandwich” surrounded by positive words. Combining good and bad news as a sandwich is confusing and misses the point. If you have bad news to deliver, or negative feedback, speak up. Be honest and straight so your listener can hear the real message. 

 

Don’t come in guns blazing without thinking through your intentions and approach for a difficult conversation. Especially when the news is hard to hear, be sure you don’t just shoot from the hip unprepared. Think things through….then speak.

 

Don’t say “You  made me feel……..”  When sharing your feelings, own them. Don’t shift your feelings to be someone else’s responsibility. Start your sentences with “I”, not “you.” 

 

Making these simple changes in your conversations will have an immediate impact. Your listener will feel more at ease and you’ll find the entire communication easier, and less tense.

Give it a shot…try a few of these and then let me know in “comments” how your next difficult conversation goes using all or any of these rules. After you’ve mastered these rules, share them with your department and watch communications improve for everyone!

Ten Questions to Stop a Complaining Employee

Day at the office started off well enough, until your employee started in again complaining about his coworker.  Not only is it getting old, it is wasting valuable time and distracting your employee from his work.

He is focused on the co-worker, not his own stuff.  What SHOULD be different. What isn’t right or fair or logical.  Wah. Wah. Wah. He can see only what should be, rather than what is.

stop whining and find something to do

Assuming, for your own reasons, the co-worker is valuable and isn’t going anywhere, this issues needs addressing.

Here are some great questions to help your employee change his perspective:

1.  “What makes you certain your way is right? Can you step back and accept that others have “their” way?”

2.   “Are you willing to help your co-worker out to get on the same page?”

3.   “What can YOU do differently to shift this situation? Or to shift your feelings about it?”

4.   “What would happen if you simply ignored all of this?”

5.   “How might you be contributing to this situation?”

6.   “What is the cost to you of focusing on them rather than yourself?”

7.   “Imagine being able to just let it go. What would that be like for you? How would things be different for you? “

8.   “Instead of focusing on what they are doing wrong, are you willing to spend the next week looking for what they do right?  What their contribution is? Their value?”

9.  “In the big scheme of things, is this all that important?”

10.  “What humor or insight can you find in this?”

Frequently some of the best “workers” are the most vocal about others whose output or system doesn’t match their own.  Most likely BOTH employees are valuable or I’m assuming you would have made a staffing change, right?

Use these questions (not all at once, simply pick and choose a few to begin) to coach your distraught employee into seeing things differently.  Keep in mind, your employee must feel valued by you for these questions to be well received.  As always with “the way to say it”, your delivery and tone are as important, if not more important, than the words you choose.

By creating a simple shift in your employee’s perspective, you can alleviate the friction and redirect him back to his own work, plus get some peace of mind yourself.

Tell me…how have you successfully, or even not so successfully, handled these situations in the past? Love to hear your comments and ideas. [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

 P.S. Your complaining employee could be a “he” or a “she.”

 

Ladies, Are You an Apology Addict?

Women apologize too much. It’s true. Just observe your female friends for a few days or weeks and you’ll notice without a

women apologize too much

doubt, many women apologize too much. Not only too often but for too many things. Some women even make apologies for things beyond their control.

Think about it. Ever heard an apology for bad weather that ruined an outing or for the actions of someone else the apologize had nothing to do with, or for being bumped into? The list of unnecessary apologies is lengthy. Let’s just suffice it to say it is not uncommon for women to over-apologize, and that is a problem for all of us.

Let’s look at the impact of that habit:

1.       It creates a self-deprecating pattern for the apologizer, believing they are always at fault.

2.       It releases others from owning their part in conflict or confusion.

3.       It teaches people to expect others (apology-addicts) to take the blame.

4.       It moves -the focus from the person who was wronged to the person delivering the apology.

The benefit of an apology is for the person on the receiving end. It’s so they will feel better.  So they will know there was no bad intent.  It’s to set things straight. To clear the air.  Although there is a certain release for the person making the apology, it’s not really about them. It’s about the receiver.

But all of that changes with multiple, repetitive apologies.  Imagine this scenario.  At a gathering of friends, one person says they can’t stay for the entire event and will be leaving early. Their apology is made in advance. No problem and the gathering continues. Then at many points in the visit, the early departer reminds the group they must leave…each time with another apology. Sometimes they even share the reasons why they must go. This continues until it’s time to leave.

The apologies begin again….to the host and hostess, maybe to the entire group.  At this point, no one can count how many apologies were delivered, but everyone knows there were too many.

Instead of being an expression of sincere apology, these communications become an attention grabber, not necessarily intentionally, but an attention grabber all the same.  In an effort to curb the apologies, others reassure the apologizer saying things like:

  • “It’s all good. It’s not a problem.”   
  • “Oh don’t worry. It’s ok.”
  • “Oh forget about it. It’s not important.”
  • “It’s alright.”
  • “I understand. Don’t feel bad. I’m fine.”
Not altogether...but apologize no more than once or twice.

Not altogether…stop apologizing more than once or twice.

Instead of being a self-less act, the apology becomes self -focused.  The receiver feels obliged to make the apologizer feel better.

Who is this apology about anyway?

Ladies, if this sounds like you, make a change. Rarely do those who over-apologize intend to make it “all about them.” Unfortunately, that is the end result.

If this sounds like you…intentionally or unintentionally, stop. Learn to limit yourself to one, no more than two, apologies. One at the onset of the issue, and possibly a second one as you depart or end the conversation to show your good intentions.

For tips on how to deliver heartfelt apologies without over-doing it, stay tuned to next week’s blog post. And of course, share your thoughts and experiences with comments.

 

‘The Way to Say It’ Tips: How to Disagree without Conflict

different directions - test - it works in firefox and chrome.

It’s insanity to even begin to think we could be in agreement with others all the time. With so many different cultures and religions, a multitude of life experiences to draw from, so many diverse areas of expertise and education, and even just different family values, it’s a wonder we ever agree!

Even so, for some of us, the idea of disagreeing out loud is scary and something to be avoided at all costs.  As children lots of us were taught not to disagree, not to express ourselves openly, and not to share differing points of view. We learned to keep our mouths shut. We learned to avoid conflict, friction, and above all confrontation. 

But over time, that just doesn’t fly. At work, we must make difficult decisions. We must face opposition to our views. We must stand up for employees and defend funding for projects. At home, we must set boundaries on our time. We have to decide how to spend joint monies, how to raise children. In every area of life whether that means at work, at home, with friends, with family or with strangers, we are faced with differing opinions and ideas and contradictory points of view.

Rather than continue to avoid or be in fear of these other beliefs and opinions, how about learning to step into them? How about learning the art of difficult conversation and even some phrases for the way to say it when one disagrees?

disagree blackboard - test - I was able to edit the image via the icon on the image in firefox.

Here are some simple, but not necessarily easy, steps to take to work through disagreement with grace and an open mind.

Step One:   Offer Mutual Respect

Recognize the other has as much right to their point of view as you do.  And believe it; don’t just give it lip service. Come from that mindset right out of the gate. Before you even open your mouth, tell yourself multiple times “They have the same right to their opinion and beliefs that I have to mine.”

Step Two:  Establish Understanding

Now that you recognize you both have the same right to your point of view, take the time to hear out the other person’s perspective. Really listen and try to put yourself in their shoes. Can you see how they drew these conclusions? Why they feel the way they do?  Allow their perceptions while still having yours.

Step Three:  Seek Agreement

Once you have heard each other’s story, work together to determine where there is agreement.  Don’t expect total agreement. Simply find where you share the same point of view. Where is there overlap in your perceptions? What perspectives and beliefs do you share? Where do you agree? Where do you see things the same or similarly? Finding that common ground creates a great foundation to build on.

Step Four:  Clarify Points of Difference

While maintaining that there is some agreement, get clear on exactly where the point or points of difference lie.  After listening to each other’s positions (Step 3), most likely you have discovered there is more agreement than originally thought.  With that in mind, take a fresh look at where the gap is, where you each see things differently.  Is there room for compromise? Cooperation? Has anyone’s perspective changed?

If so, wrap up by talking about the common ground and the understanding gained.

It’s perfectly ok to disagree. The object is not to convince each other of your own point of view, but to educate each other on new viewpoints and to create understanding. If you can accomplish that, you have succeeded! You can each go on your way seeing things differently. But now you have an expanded view of the issue having  shared your perspectives.

Here are some phrases that will prove helpful in the art of disagreement without conflict:  

  • “I appreciate your point of view and I think I understand your feelings. Here’s how I see it. “
  • ” I wish I could agree with you. Unfortunately, I see it differently.”
  • “I respect your opinion and hope you can respect that my viewpoint is different from yours.”
  • “I understand your position and I agree on xxxx points. Here is where I think we see things differently.”
  • “We have some common ground and some points where we disagree.”
  • “Wow, I had never thought of things from that perspective. Thanks for sharing that point of view. It opens things up for me. “
  • “Thanks to your insights, I have some thinking to do on this topic. Thank you.”
  • “Now that we have talked it through, I see your point of view more clearly and I respect your opinion. We do agree in some areas and we do not in others, and that’s just fine.”
  • “I so enjoy that we can hold different points of view and respect those differences. Thanks for sharing your perspective.”

Having a different opinion than your spouse or co-worker or even your boss is not the end of world. Considering the wide range of factors that lead us to our conclusions, disagreement is to be expected and accepted. The key is doing so without judgment and criticism. If we give the level of respect we want, everyone wins. 

Respectful disagreement is healthy.

 

25 Habits that Kill Great Communication

Stop making difficult conversations harder than they need to be.

Stop making difficult conversations harder than they need to be.

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:      

    1. Blaming others  while believing we are guilt free
    2. Using a sarcastic tone of voice
    3. Blind siding with a surprise attack
    4. Taking a defensive stance
    5. Attacking by using “you” statements
    6. Avoiding the actual subject
    7. Dancing around the issues with implications and vagueness
    8. Pretending all is well
    9. Fighting dirty with name calling or intentionally hurtful dialog,
    10. Talking over others
    11. Being a poor listener
    12. Playing the “I’m right, you’re wrong” card
    13. Saying the right words with the wrong tone
    14. Wanting to prove your point rather than resolve issues
    15. Making the issue public
    16. Not owning your stuff, your feelings
    17. Dismissing others’ opinions
    18. Patronizing and belittling others
    19. Interrupting others’ talk
    20. Not acknowledging honest effort of others
    21. Being dishonest
    22. Withholding the truth
    23. Avoiding eye contact
    24. Multi-tasking rather than being present
    25. 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.                                                                                           

something newFirst, 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?

What Your Lack of Response Tells Others

ostrichMost of us think saying nothing is an acceptable and easy response to challenging situations. The ole ostrich-in-the-sand approach.  We hide out. We avoid, ignore and figure in time it will all go away. At the very least the other party will forget about things.

After doing personal coaching for 13 years, it’s clear to me this is not the case. No response, does not equal no problem. The issue doesn’t’ go away just because we aren’t facing it. In fact, more often than not, ignoring the issue leads to other problems.

We may THINK to ourselves, “I’m not saying anything. That will be safe.” But our silence communicates volumes anyway. It leaves things open to the interpretation of others, and, without our input. They decide on their own what our lack of response means. The meaning they give it is rarely what we intend.

Here are some of the conclusions that are often drawn by our silence:

  1. “You don’t care.”  –  If you did care, you would speak up and express your feelings.  Or at the least you would deal with the situation. Most of us interpret silence as indifference.
  2. “I’m not important.”  –   Someone waiting to hear your response might conclude, “I’m not important to you.” After all, in the midst of a misunderstanding or conflict, it would seem if I were important, you would do or say something.
  3. “Things are fine the way they are.” –  Sometimes when no response comes, we decide it means things are fine as is. Nothing needs to be done.
  4. “Do what you want.”  –  This is a convenient conclusion to draw. It allows us to do exactly what we want. After all, we haven’t heard from the other party (you), so obviously it doesn’t matter.  Without your input, we are free to decide what to do next. And considering there is a conflict, we love giving ourselves permission to do what we want.
  5. “It’s over.” –  Depending on the actual situation, sometimes we interpret silence to mean the relationship, friendship, or connection is over. That conclusion sets an entirely new set of circumstances in motion.
  6. “You don’t want to talk to me (or about it).” –  In either case, drawing this conclusion makes the other party completely reluctant to initiate a conversation. The gap widens. The silence continues.

Just because nothing is said, doesn’t mean no conclusions are drawn. Silence in the midst of an issue, argument, misunderstanding or crucial conversation only leads to more resentment and a greater distance to bridge for resolution.

breaking the silence

Are you an avoider? In the midst of a difficult conversation do you simply shut down and stop talking? Do you leave an issue hanging, never sharing your thoughts and questions? If so, remind yourself others will draw their own conclusions and most likely they will not be what you intend.

Want to resolve the issue? Want to affect the outcome? Speak up using The Way to Say It and allow yourself and the other party to talk it through and move on, whether that moving on means resolution, understanding, or just letting go. In any case, the wondering ends and there is clarity.

Want to learn more possibilities about what your silence is saying? Check out these links:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithwalkers/2013/02/silence-speaks-what-you-say-when-you-say-nothing-at-all/

http://silenttreatmentblog.com/

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The-Way-to-Say-It Conversation

The Way to Say It is not just about finding the right words. The Way to Say It is a kind of conversation that steps into rather than shies away from difficult, challenging and uncomfortable topics. It is a mindset that says, “Let’s resolve this,” rather than “Let’s ignore it.”

It’s a belief that honest, direct conversation is more productive than beat-around-the-bush conversation. The Way to Say It is about continuing to improve our communication skills whether we are at home, at work, in a group or with one individual, young or old, self-employed or in the corporate world.talk

The Way to Say It is ALWAYS:

  • Honest and authentic
  • Direct and clear
  • Free of blame and attack
  • Without judgment
  • Intent on creating understanding and resolution
  • Free of sarcasm
  • Personally responsible
  • Able to say what needs to be said (not just what’s comfortable)
  • Willing to listen as well as speak
  • Calm and neutral
  • Free of manipulation
  • Brave and bold

I’m totally committed to this type of conversation whatever the topic. It’s an ongoing process…finding the right words, the right tone, the right approach to make all conversations bridges rather than dividers.

What topics do you find difficult in conversation? What communication challenge do you have questions about? I invite you to share, ask, speak, and follow me on this blog as we explore The Way to Say It  as a way of life.