Put Your Big Girl Panties On: 3 Reasons You Avoid The Conversation

Big Girl PantiesI’m willing to bet that there’s a difficult conversation you need to have but you don’t want to have it. I’m willing to take a leap of faith and say that you’ve convinced yourself that it’s not necessary to have the conversation because of one of the following:

1. You rarely have to interact with this other person so in your mind, it doesn’t really matter.

2. The amount of time you need to spend with the other person is dwindling down to nothing since you are moving, leaving, quitting, etc.

3. You can’t predict the outcome of the conversation and you’re not sure if you want the ship to sail. The friendship, relationship, internship, and so forth.

All valid reasons but not enough to keep you from having the piece of mind that you deserve. Because interpersonal conflict is such an unpleasant emotional state, most of us are programmed to avoid it. Launching into a difficult conversation requires some skill and some pre-planning.

I’m reluctant to share advice for having difficult conversations because I personally dread them! But I will share something from the Lean In Discussion Guide For Difficult Conversations because the site is incredibly useful and I learn something every time I visit.

7 Steps of an Effective Conversation

•Listen – Listen quietly, with no interruption, trying to see the world from the other’s perspective

• Ask – Inquire openly, with curiosity, trying to understand why your counterpart thinks what he or she thinks

• Summarize – Let the other person know that you heard what he or she said. Summarize what you heard and ask them if you understand it correctly

• Validate – Acknowledge that what your counterpart said is reasonable even if you interpret things differently

• Express – Share your truth, your assessment of the situation, your examples, your reasoning, your goals and your suggestions. Speak in first person. Use “I”. Avoid using “you”, “we”, and “it”

• Negotiate – Engage creatively and try to find a solution that addresses everyone’s concerns

• Commit – Formalize your agreement with a series of commitments and a timeframe

Sounds like a plan. Now if I could just get past #4.

LA Drye is a workstyle specialist with a passion for all things related to Sistah Girls in the workplace. Subscribe to receive new posts directly in your mailbox. When not ranting and raving here, she can be found on Twitter @ladrye or on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/washndrye. Visit www.sayido.nyc to learn more about Say “I Do” In A New York Minute: A Guide to Planning Your Big Apple Wedding.

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