Robin Hills (Director, Ei4Change) has been asked to contribute a series of bite-sized, inspirational soundbites for Bolton FM.
Featured every day for a week as The Thought that Counts, these were broadcast on the Breakfast Show and on the Lunchtime Show.
This podcast explores tackling tough conversations:
Welcome to this episode of "The Thought That Counts" podcast based upon my contributions to my local radio station's"The Thought That Counts" slot. This is broadcast on the breakfast show and the lunchtime show over a period of a week. Each broadcast lasts about 90 seconds. My contributions are all based around some aspect of emotional intelligence and resilience. These contributions have been put together as hints and tips in this podcast. On this occasion, my reflections explore tackling tough conversations, covering tips for handling tough discussions, assumptions, behaviour, the importance of emotional regulation, self awareness and tough conversations, do's and don'ts around tough conversations. I hope that you enjoy the podcast and these The Thought That Counts. The Thought That Counts. How easy do you find it to tackle a difficult conversation when necessary? Tackling difficult conversations can be challenging, but it's important for maintaining healthy relationships and resolving conflict. Here are some tips for handling tough discussions. First, prepare yourself mentally by identifying the key points you want to communicate and anticipate any potential reactions. Be clear and specific about the issue you want to address and avoid attacking the other person. Second, actively listen to the other person's perspective and show empathy. Acknowledge their feelings and concerns and try to understand their point of view. Third, use "I" statements instead of "you" statements. This helps to avoid blame and defensiveness and keeps the focus on your feelings and needs. Fourth, be open to finding a solution that works for both parties. This might involve compromise or finding a creative way to address the issue. Finally, take a break if the emotions start to become intense. It's okay to step away and come back to the conversation when both parties are calmer and more rational. Sometimes the most important conversations are the most difficult to engage in, but they can lead to greater understanding and stronger relationships if handled properly. The Thought That Counts. Assumptions can be dangerous when it comes to tackling difficult conversations. Assuming that you know what someone else is thinking or feeling without checking with them can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and even damage relationships. Assumptive behaviour is when we rely on our own interpretations and judgements rather than seeking clarification. It can take many forms, such as assuming the worst about someone's intentions, assuming that someone shares our beliefs or values, or assuming that someone is not interested in resolving a conflict. Assumptions can be particularly harmful in difficult conversations because they can lead us to make accusations, become defensive, or shut down communication altogether. They can also prevent us from understanding the other person's perspective and finding common ground. To avoid the dangers of assumptions, it's important to check with the other person regularly and to ask open questions that encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings. This can help clarify any misunderstandings and prevent assumptions from derailing the conversation. It's also important to be aware of our own assumptions and biases and to challenge them when necessary. This requires self reflection and an open mind, as well as a willingness to consider alternative perspectives. Making assumptions about something you don't know and without facts is a sure way to remain ignorant. The Thought That Counts. Emotional regulation, or how you manage and control your emotions, is crucial when it comes to tackling difficult conversations. When emotions run high, it's easy to become defensive, criticise, attack, or shut down communication altogether. To regulate our emotions during difficult conversations, we first need to recognise our own emotional triggers and responses. This requires self awareness and an understanding of how our emotions can impact our behaviour. Once we've identified our emotional triggers, we can use strategies to control our emotions and stay calm. This might involve deep breathing, taking a break to calm down, or focusing on the present moment instead of getting caught up in our thoughts and emotions. It's also important to be mindful of the other person's emotions and to respond in a way that shows empathy and understanding. This might involve acknowledging their feelings, validating their perspective, and finding common ground. By regulating our emotions and being mindful of the other person's emotions, we can create a safe and supportive environment for these difficult conversations. This can lead to greater understanding, improved relationships, and effective conflict resolution. Don't let your emotions distract you from what needs to be done. Take control of your emotions before your emotions control you. The sign of an intelligent person is the ability to control their emotions by the application of reason. The Thought That Counts. Self awareness is essential when it comes to tackling difficult conversations. Without clear understanding of our own thoughts, emotions, and biases, it's very easy to become defensive, escalate conflict, or avoid communication altogether. Self awareness involves being mindful of our own feelings, reactions, and behaviours, and understanding the impact that these have on other people. It requires an honest and non judgmental assessment of our own strengths and weaknesses, as well as an understanding of how our past experiences and beliefs can influence our current behaviour. When we're self aware, we're better able to manage our emotions, communicate effectively, and respond to others in a way that shows empathy and understanding. We're also more likely to recognise when we're making assumptions or jumping to conclusions, and we're better equipped to challenge our own biases and seek alternative perspectives. Self awareness can also help us to identify our own needs and goals during difficult conversations. By understanding our own priorities and values, we can communicate more effectively and work towards solutions that meet our needs whilst also respecting the needs of others. Self awareness doesn't stop you from making mistakes. It allows you to learn from them. The Thought That Counts. Tackling difficult conversations can be challenging, but there are some do's and don'ts that can help make the process more effective and productive. Here are some examples. Do focus on facts. Be specific about the behaviour and the effect it has. Do pay attention. Give the other person all your focus. Listen with the intent to understand. Do adapt your style. You may have what you think are the answers, but you should instead try to help the other person arrive at their own solutions. Do ask questions. Avoid saying "why?" because it can sound accusatory. Instead, ask what, where, when, who, and how questions. Do accept your feelings. The other person may hit on one of your emotional triggers, but this is about the other person, not you. Do empathise. Recognise their position without compromising objectivity. Don't use absolutes, "always", "never". They're seldom true. Don't make assumptions, ask questions. Don't judge. Everyone has good intentions. They simply have a different moral compass to you. Don't offer advice. For example, "If I were you..." Don't respond when you're angry. Don't take offense. Remember, it's not about you. It's the hard conversations that create good relationships. Even if a conversation is difficult, we must still be loving, decent, honest, gentle, moral, honourable, virtuous, and full of integrity. I'm Robin Hills from EI4Change. Empowering your Emotional Management. The Thought That Counts.