Let’s face it, nobody really enjoys having difficult conversations
Because avoiding them altogether may seem more convenient. The reality is, avoiding conflict rarely resolves itself. Learning to have hard conversations in life is a necessary skill. Although these skills are universal, having hard conversations over the phone will require more finesse and intentional effort. Whether you are avoiding a hard conversation right now or are in the middle of one, here are some helpful tips for you.
Stay Calm – Although you may feel like you won an argument by losing your cool, you certainly did not win someone over. When emotions are flared, you’ll need to remember what’s more important, winning an argument or coming to a decision together. Not only will staying calm help you make the best decision, but will help the other person keep their cool. Remember, if you are feeling triggered, take a breath.
"Learning to not take offense at things said or done to you is one of the best ways you can regulate your emotions."
Don’t Take It Personal – This is easier said than done. Learning to not take offense at things said or done to you is one of the best ways you can regulate your emotions. Many people struggle with this. For example, if someone cuts you off in traffic, they most likely are not trying to belittle your driving; they may just be in a rush or weren’t paying attention. When you apply this to your relationships, specifically tough conversations, you allow the best possible outcome.
Listen intently – This is one of the most crucial parts to resolving conflict. It can be tempting to reactively respond when someone may accuse you or rebuff you. Taking a deep breath and listen intently to them. The act of actively listening gives the other person the opportunity to speak their mind without fear of a knee-jerk reaction.
Be Assertive – Although it’s important to intently listen, its crucial to establish some boundaries to the conversation. When approaching hard conversations or if someone is already upset, take a moment to talk about the issue and open the conversation about how to resolve it.
Avoid Arguing – When tempers flare, it’s not only challenging to resolve conflict, it can also have long-term effects on the relationship. Even if you are not talking to a friend or family member, it is still important to keep your emotions in check. When making decisions, especially in a heated conversation, a rule of thumb is to avoid saying things impulsively.
Take Responsibility – Whether you are to blame or not, taking responsibility for any wrong-doing can help de-escalate the situation. This can further help to meet a person halfway when met with a disparaging disagreement. If you are able, find a reason to apologize before the conversation starts. Starting the conversation with a formal apology will set the tone and may help to diffuse the situation.
Seek a Solution – No doubt, we have all experienced a frustrating conversation with no resolution. But it’s still important to help each other by trying find a resolution to the conflict. In reality, its possibly that it may not be solved in one conversation. Its important to realize working towards a solution can be a success as well. Although it may seem impossible to resolve conflict or approach hard conversations over the phone, it is most definitely possible and you can do it.