We’re not talking here about doing casual conversations — catching up with friends over lunch, chit-chat at a cocktail party. We’re talking about navigating those more difficult conversations where you need to voice a complaint, solve a problem. These can quickly go off the rails because of defensiveness and blame, or one side shutting down, or the opposite, jumping in a giving advice and still not listening.
But good, productive conversations aren’t a matter of content or personality but skills that you can master. Here’s a guide to having the best conversations ever:
Being on The Receiving End
Here we’re talking about the other person coming to you with a complaint or problem: Tom is frustrated by the kid’s toys constantly on the floor; Sara is worried about the family budget; Anne needs to just vent about her job.
What to do:
Listening means putting away the cell phone, putting down the tablet, adopting a relaxed pose, and listening. The key here is listening longer than you may be comfortable doing. You may get triggered to defend yourself – I do get the kids to pick up the toys — or to give advice – I already suggested that it would help our finances if you picked up extra hours at work, or Why don’t you go talk to your supervisor about your frustrations?