Tough Conversations: Talking Over What Really Matters

Some conversations are so difficult that we do anything to avoid them. Then,
when things have really built up, we finally have no choice but to confront the
issue, and the person.

“We need to talk,” usually precedes an argument rather than a conversation. Why
are such conversations difficult? Because we are stuck between knowing what we
really feel and knowing what we shouldn’t say.

Genetically, we humans are hard-wired for flight or fight. When emotions are
triggered we have physiological reactions for aggression and/or avoidance. It is
actually against our nature to sit down and talk it over. So how would we know
how to do this?

What if there were a map to follow when you had to have a difficult
conversation?

Fifteen years of research at the Harvard Negotiation Project has produced some
interesting information about what goes on during conflict.

Sometimes a third party can help facilitate difficult conversations. Talking it
through with your personal coach can help you decipher the underlying components
of a difficult conversation. You can have difficult conversations in a way that
improves relationships instead of risking hurt feelings.

The full 1,000 word article covers these concepts:

Why some conversations are so difficult
Fight, flight or talk?
Mapping underlying structures
Three components of every conversation
Thinking, feeling, personal stakes
Personal identity issues
Five steps to consider
What you can change, what you can’t
How your coach can help

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