How to Turn Around A Sinking Conversation - 7 Tips
by: Peter Murphy
When a conversation is not working out there is the potential for massive frustration or a breakthrough depending on how you look at it.
1. Question your assumptions about the other person
Perhaps the breakdown in communication is based on rumors that have no basis in reality. You may be unfairly judging the other person and filtering every word he speaks because of a false image of who he really is.
Have you ever harshly judged someone and found out later you were completely in the wrong? Make sure you are not making the same mistake again.
2. Ask for clarification
Ask the other person to fill in the gaps that are causing you to lose your grasp on the train of thought.
Asking questions demonstrates your interest in a positive outcome and is to be encouraged. Never worry about looking stupid for asking for more information. The smartest people value information and are always ready to ask for more.
3. Are you really listening?
Check that you are really paying attention and not just pretending to be. Change your posture, pay close attention to how the other person is talking and demand more of yourself.
Become more attentive simply by choosing to be.
4. Address the issue directly
Be direct and say aloud that you feel the conversation is not working out. Often the other person will agree and together the two of you will be able to work to correct the situation.
Two minds are better than one!
5. Ask for help
If you often have trouble conversing with a particular person get advice from someone that knows the other person. Very often by doing this you will get new insights you can act on right away.
And someone who is removed from the situation will have the objectivity you need to make sense of the chaos you have created.
6. Take a break
Sometimes the timing just is not right. Reschedule the conversation for a later time when you are better prepared, more rested or not as distracted by other issues.
Forcing something to work out when the odds are stacked against you is difficult and often unnecessary. Get back to it later when you are feeling more capable and you will make better decisions and with less effort.
7. Aim for good not perfect
Sometimes we hold such high standards for ourselves that we can never win. If you demand 100 per cent success at all times you are setting yourself up for constant disappointment. Do your best and aim to learn and improve from every experience.
Be kinder to yourself and you will be more relaxed in all of your dealings with other people. And ironically your performance will improve because you are not being so hard on yourself.