So every once in a while I need to have, or people ask me how to have, what we often refer to as “Difficult Conversations”. I think we need to change the paradigm. How about if we called them “Meaningful Conversations” or “Important Conversations”? Personally – I prefer that, because it immediately sets me up in a completely different way and so I believe it sets up the conversation differently as well.
It’s kind of like if you focus on not falling off your bike, you’re much more likely to fall vs. focusing on staying balanced on your bike, and aha!! you glide smoothly through the trail!.
So when we think about preparing for a “difficult” conversation what do we do? I think many anticipate it won’t go well, or begin from a defensive place, or perhaps, just simply avoid it because it’s going to be too uncomfortable…. and so our preparation takes us to a more negative place. So….let’s change the paradigm, and see what happens. Let’s think about it as having a “meaningful” conversation. How would you prepare for that? I expect you would prepare differently – I know I would. And I believe that the different perspective would allow more productive dialogue, resulting in different and improved outcomes and enhanced relationships.
Ok, so here are my ideas:
Firstly – a “meaningful” or “important” conversation seems worth it – so I’m more likely to go for it vs. avoiding it. I’m thinking more positively already.
Secondly – if a conversation is meaningful, it probably involves a relationship that has some value, and so the time and energy invested is worth it.
Thirdly – with the perspective that this conversation matters, there’s an increased desire to try, which makes me more curious, while also preparing me to listen more actively. I’m now showing up in a much more open way.
Finally – if it’s to be meaningful, then there is truly a desire for understanding -if it’s important, I want to better understand the other, and hopefully will be able to express myself so they better understand me.
So?…. what do you think? How would preparing for a “meaningful conversation” shift your paradigm?