Conversations are the most human and basic activity aiming at creating supporting relationships and creating new knowledge, new solutions through the exchange of ideas. Supporting relationship are the #1 factor in longer term success. If succeeding in your dreams matters to you, what are perceive as difficult conversations may be “the cave that you fear to enter, but holding the treasure you’re seeking”(J. Campbell)
Conversational dynamics range from toxic and dysfunctional to upheaving and insightful.
Difficult conversations lay somewhere in between – they have the potential to make or break a relationship, to stall or progress towards breakthrough solutions. Difficult conversations are loaded with emotions that take a tall on our well-being and well- functioning. They can be experienced as depleting burden or a crucible of growth.
Difficult conversations hold the potential of changing the game.
Conversations are difficult when they make you feel incomplete, inadequate, wrong. We find ourselves in difficult conversations when
- Taken aback by other party’s words or behavior, emotional reaction overrides rational thinking
- Getting hijacked by automatic emotional response (we are triggered)
- The gap on values and beliefs cannot be closed enough to create trust and connection; differences in mindset hinder identifying common ground
- Feeling attacked, judged, or despised on our integrity, core values and beliefs
- Making a request not making clear or being clear on the need we want to satisfy
- Providing information which is neither complete nor totally true (integrity questions)
- Questioning the trustworthiness of the other party and of their expressed intentions
- Promising something that we can’t satisfy, become, or deliver
- Moralizing, talking from a defined frame of reference of what’s right and wrong
- Making assumptions about what other people are saying or have in their mind
- Wanting to win the argument at all costs
- Pretending to listen and making up the story, being too busy and noisy in our head
- Perceives dependency influences attachment on the outcomes of the conversation