• Kat O'Sullivan

5 keys to shifting from "confrontation" to "conversation"

Updated: May 6, 2020

What keeps us from having those “Difficult Conversations?”

The most common issue is our fear of what might happen if we are really honest about whatever the issue happens to be. Ironically, when we put off having that conversation, it only makes it worse. And, by the time we finally have that conversation it’s likely to feel more like a confrontation.

What if we reframed them as “Courageous Conversations” . . . an opportunity to have a conversation vs. confrontation to explore whatever the issue is and work together to find common ground and creative solutions.

5 Keys to Shifting from “Confrontation” to “Conversation”

  1. Preplan the conversation, starting with getting clear about your intentions. Are you really clear about your purpose for the conversation? That is, what the ideal outcome will look like — for you and for the other person.

  2. Then, be clear about the issue at hand so you can focus the conversation of the issue, not the person.

  3. During the conversation, become acutely aware of anytime you feel judgment creeping in and shift to insatiable curiosity. This is the only way to get beyond the symptoms and uncover any underlying issues.

  4. Pay attention to nonverbal communications. They provide valuable clues about how you are being perceived and how you are perceiving the other person.

  5. Heighten your awareness of when you or the other person becomes triggered. Rather than ignoring or reacting, take responsibility for checking in on what’s contributing to that, i.e. yet another opportunity to become insatiably curious vs. judgmental.

By staying insatiably curious in our conversations (vs. judgmental), we pave the way to come out the other side more enlightened and respecting and valuing each other's perspective, even if we disagree.

Reality Check: Each one of these shifts is also a skill. It would be great to think we would magically know how to do them. However, that is rarely the case and unfortunately they are rarely taught in school. No wonder we have so many pesky people problems in our organizations. And, with four or five generations in the workplace, it makes communicating even more complex.

Is it crazy to think that you could look forward to having a Courageous Conversation? We're here to help make that a reality. That’s what we do best and we have fun doing it! Let us know if you’d like to learn more. If you haven’t subscribed yet, we’d love to have you join the conversation.

If you’ve been putting off what you perceive to be one of those “Difficult Conversations” let’s hear it (no names, of course). It’s the perfect time to gain some insight that could help you preplan and shift from “Confrontation” to a “Courageous Conversation.”

#KSHIFT #GenerationGap

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