What does a good conversation feel like for you?
What ruins a conversation for you?
What saves a conversation from going off track?
#4 Deal with (potential) conflict
If someone is aggressive or angry, don’t assume that it has something to do with you and don’t take it personally. But if the other person makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, have the courage to express yourself. For example, “You seem frustrated or angry. What’s going on?” When emotions are running high a conversation can sometimes turn into a conflict and we wind up saying or doing things that we never intended. One of the best means to deal with conflict is to ground yourself in the present, while focusing on what’s happening in the moment to moment. Breathe slowly and deeply from the diaphragm to stay calm. Look into the eyes of the other person to acknowledge their presence while demonstrating yours. Maintain respect for yourself and the other, even if the other person doesn’t! Invite the other person to create a place of peace and mutual respect in which to speak with each other or agree to give it some time and speak together later. Know that you don’t always have to respond in words. Sometimes the best response is an extended moment of silence…
#5 Shape and reshape the conversation
Use your powers of observation to stay in tuned to yourself and the other. Be aware of the conversation that you’re creating together. Is it Balanced? Respectful? Enjoyable? Is it Aggressive? Confusing? Upsetting? Know that you can reshape the conversation as needed or desired. Just because a conversation goes off course doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. It’s possible to course correct! Did the conversation go off on a tangent? Bring the focus back. Did you both lose your way? Pick up the thread of your conversation and go on together. Has the conversation become too serious? too heavy? Balance the heaviness with a little humour. Sometimes laughing at our misfortunes is the best remedy! At any time in the conversation, we can co-create a new path together.
#6 Be aware of your conversation habits and update them!
There are so many ways to communicate, but we very often repeat the same old habits. Some people make themselves and their voices smaller in conversations and hesitate to speak up. Their focus is so self-centred that they don’t perceive what’s happening around them because they live in their heads. Other people make their voices louder than necessary. They overwhelm us while trying to control us. Both of these tendencies are survival mechanisms that began at an early age (as a form of self-protection) and then became habits. Become more aware of your conversation habits. Listen and observe yourself in conversations. Where do you habitually get stuck or shut down? Where do you overpower or shut other people down? Which of your conversation habits serve you well? Which habits are preventing you from effectively connecting with others? What new habits do you need to install to create better conversations?
Take action this week:
Ask for feedback from others to gain insight and try something different this week. Then let me know how it goes for you.
I’d love to hear from you!
Co-creating a better world one conversation at a time!