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How to Have Difficult Conversations When You Don't Like Conflict

Listen and observe

Focus on what you’re hearing, not what you’re saying. Genuine attention and neutrality encourage people to elaborate.

You don’t actually need to talk that much during a difficult conversation. Instead, learn to listen, reflect and observe.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Have Difficult Conversations When You Don't Like Conflict

How to Have Difficult Conversations When You Don't Like Conflict

https://hbr.org/2017/05/how-to-have-difficult-conversations-when-you-dont-like-conflict

hbr.org

5

Key Ideas

Begin from a place of curiosity

Lean into the conversation from a place of curiosity and respect (for yourself and the other person). 

Even when the subject of the conversation is difficult, the interaction can remain mutually supportive. Respect the other person’s point of view, and expect them to respect yours.

Be direct

Address uncomfortable situations head-on by getting right to the point.

Foster an honest and respectful discussion and make sure both parties speak about the details of an issue. 

Don’t put it off

Don't put off a conversation for some ideal future time, when it can be more easily dealt with.

Take some time to cool down and plan the general outline of the outcome you desire. But then have the conversation, and make a plan to move on. 

Expect a positive outcome

Focus on the long-term gains that the conversation will create and you will shift your inner dialogue to a more constructive place. 

This will build your confidence to approach the coworker who constantly criticizes and complains or the subordinate who keeps underperforming.

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When you start noticing yourself getting tense, try to focus on breathing (on feeling the air coming in and out of your lungs).

This will take your attention off the physical signs of panic and keep you centered.

Focus on your body

Sitting still when you’re having a difficult conversation can make the emotions build up rather than dissipate. 

Standing up and walking around helps to activate the thinking part of your brain.

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Let People Talk First

Let others to talk about themselves first. Then, you’ll be able to sell yourself more naturally.

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Ask Good Questions That Show You’re Engaged

Ask at least one question before changing topic to show you’re engaged. Gathering details makes it more likely that you’ll be able to establish a connection with the other person or find a way you can lend a hand.

Prepare For A Conversation Without Being Creepy

Take a look at the person’s LinkedIn or Twitter account to get an idea of his tone, interests, etc. You’re always at an advantage when you know more about a person. It will be easier to relate to him and you might avoid awkward conversations.

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Curiosity and innovation

Encouraging people to be curious generates workplace improvements.

When we are curious, we view tough situations more creatively. Studies have found that curiosity is associated with less defensive reactions to stress and less aggressive reactions to provocation.

Reduced group conflict

Curiosity encourages members of a group to put themselves in one another’s shoes and take an interest in one another’s ideas rather than focus only on their own perspective.

Thus, conflicts are less heated, and groups achieve better results.

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