This article is written by Odile Faludi, Business Development Consultant and a Career Money Life Certified Supplier. You can read the original article on her website.
It’s a tricky subject, conversation. Two egos, two minds, two hearts have a heated debate and head for a collision. How do you find a place of mutual purpose? The place where both sides feel like they are winners. Always remember, “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” – Ambrose Bierce
Those who are skilled with dialogue will always start with their heart in the right place. That keeps your motive honest and your thoughts on track when speaking. When conversations become crucial most people resort to flight or fight techniques to overcome the stress. They either say absolutely nothing and do everything to avoid the subject or get aggressive and agitated. We all do it. But there is a place in the middle and it is called “mutual purpose” and that’s the sweet spot of all conversations.
Funny, the rich get richer and the really good communicators get even smarter at breaking down barriers. The reason is they are not afraid to work on themselves first in an attempt to be better at saying how they feel. The only person we can continually inspire, poke and change with any degree of success is ourselves.
Brilliant communicators understand the “Genius of the And” – continuity and change can sit together. When sharing ideas there doesn’t have to be a winner or a loser in a conversation. New York Bestselling authors, Patterson, Grenny, McMillian and Switzler in the book, Crucial Conversations explain the important and ever-elusive and. Here’s how this works:
First, clarify what you really want. You’ve got a head start if you’ve already Started with Heart. If you know what you want for yourself then you’re in a position to break out of picking the easy choice by setting up new options. For example, What I want is for my peer to be more reliable. I’m tired of being let down by him and I am left carrying the bulk of the workload.
Second, clarify what you really don’t want. This is the key to framing the “and” question. Think of what you are afraid will happen to you if you back away from your current strategy of trying to win or stay safe. What bad thing will happen if you stop pushing so hard? What horrible outcome makes game playing an attractive and sensible option? What I don’t want is to have a useless and heated conversation that creates bad feelings and doesn’t lead to change.
Third, combine what you really want and what you really don’t want into a question that forces you to search for more creative and productive possibilities than resorting to silence or violence. “How can I have a candid conversation with my peer about being more dependable and avoid creating bad feelings of wasting our time.” Is there a way to tell your peer your real concerns and not insult or offend them?
Therefore, clarify what you don’t want, add it to what you do want, and ask your brain to start searching for healthy options to bring you to dialogue. Robert Fritz says, “We learn how to do something truly new only through doing it, then adjusting.” It requires creative thinking. If all else fails, and if in doubt and you cannot get your brain into gear to work out what to say remember ‘speech is silver; silence is golden.’
Finally, special is a word that often pops up when people are having conversations that start with heart. Special is a word that is used to describe something one of a kind, like a hug or a sunset or a person who spreads love, with a smile or kind gesture. Special describes people who act from the heart and keep in mind the hearts of others. Is special the word people would use to describe you?