how-to-have-a-difficult-conversation-without-waffling

The lovely Ms Sheri Bomb requested I expand on the “How to have a Direct Conversation” post by talking about how to approach difficult or scary conversations to avoid turning into a waffling, babbling mess. Good question Sheri, good question! And a tricky one to answer because there are SO many variations of that kind of conversation. So I’ll generalise, not all points will apply to all conversations and all that. Pick and choose what will work for you and do that. Ready? Let’s roll.

  • Be prepared. Know what you want to say, consider how the person is likely to take it and consider what you’ll say in response. Be really clear what your message is and why you are saying it. If you are really desperate {or having the conversation over the phone, write dot points}.
  • Stop trying to be REALLY nice. I find it REALLY annoying when people spend so much time ‘buffering’ me to a conversation they need to have that I’m bored and have tuned out by the time we get to the point. So stop doing that. Say you have something to tell them and then say it. No more, no less.
  • Be genuine. There’s a police officer in my town who is notorious for the being sickly sweet, so sorry about all this, blah blah when he writes tickets. I almost want to shout at him HURRY UP ALREADY I’m so sick of you talking. He doesn’t really mean it. Or if he does he has a weird way of expressing it. If you are genuine in your concern then people get that. If not they’ll see that too. You should consider your motives.
  • Let it rip like a band-aid. Continuing on from the be prepared and the stop being nice it really does pay to just get it out. The longer you delay it, try to sneak it into the conversation or find the right moment the weirder it gets. The more awkward you get and the more the other person wants to run away. Get to the point already.
  • Calm the farm it’s not about you. I’ve used this one before but it’s true. You need to calm down. If it is a conversation you are going to have to have, if YOU are the person to deliver that news, then you might as well get used to the idea. Panicking or carrying on makes it all about you. The real person you should be worried about is the other person. Will you be able to effectively communicate your message to THEM, how will THEY feel etc etc. Chances are if you are reading this you have made the entire conversation about how YOU are feeling or how it puts YOU in an awkward spot. Let that go, it can be about you later, for now it’s all about them. Go make them comfortable with the news you are about to deliver.

So there you go folks! Use the tips today. There is always something that could be said that isn’t because it’s awkward and hard to say. So change that today, yes? Wafflers unite, let me know how you go. Any questions? Extra tips for the crew?