Get Your Message Across in a Difficult Conversation
If you need to have a difficult conversation with someone, you’re unlikely to come to a resolution if you don’t hear the other person out. After you’ve listened to your counterpart, you can create a better understanding of your message by doing the following:
- Own your perspective. Treat your opinion like what it is: your opinion. Start sentences with “I,” not “you.” Explain what’s bothering you and follow up by identifying what you hope will happen.
- Pay attention to your words. Avoid name-calling and finger-pointing. Your language should be simple, clear, direct, and neutral.
- Watch your body language. Are you slumping your shoulders? Rolling your eyes? Take stock of the impression you’re giving.
- Change the tenor of the conversation. If things get heated, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and suggest a different approach, such as: “If we put our heads together, we could probably come up with a way to move past this. Do you have any ideas?”