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Learn how to manage critical conversations: avoid these mistakes!

Manage your critical conversations: The 10 most serious mistakes you should avoid in a critical conversation.

A peaceful and harmonic life, full of fun and laughter, without problems with your partner, friends, colleagues, family members, neighbors…. seems like a dream, right? The great news is that you can learn to manage emotions so that your conflicting moments are less in quantity and duration.

We know very well what it means to be in a difficult and critical situation: emotions are strong, our breathing irregular, our voice trembles, we are angry or upset and exactly because we cannot think “clean”we can make many mistakes.

Each one of us has surely had at least one difficult situation where emotions have played tricks on us, and the result is that the outcome of the conversation was even worse than what we thought. Maybe you were already in such a critical situation such as facing a conflict with a friend or the partner, clearing up a misunderstanding, or handling a negotiation with a person who does not want to move from her position. It is a matter of a few seconds, our head thinks and does not stop. In a very short time we decide what to say and what to do.

How can we be effective when we are “outside of ourselves”? The conversation can take a positive or totally negative direction depending on what we say or do. We can even lose the connection with the other person (which we call “rapport”), and in extreme cases we can lose our patience and say or do something that we regret later. If you are in one of these situations, remember to avoid the following behaviors and try to adopt the solutions that I propose below. It will be easier to talk with the other person and to establish a positive atmosphere.


10 mistakes to avoid in a critical conversation.     

You are not looking into the eyes.

The eyes are our connection point. Looking into the eyes during a conversation shows that we are listening. When you look into the other person’s eyes you can discover much more than you can imagine, you just need to be attentive, aware of the “here and now” and observe beyond your own vision.


You are not listening

Listen not only with your ears, but with all the senses taking in all the pieces of information you can: listen how voices change, listen to the words you are using, observe the face mimic of the other person, the gestures, the posture and you will discover how she feels and think.

Listen carefully and give your personal instinct a way to make its own way, perceive what is happening. Listen, but not to answer, in order to understand the point of view of the other person. Do not interrupt and also ask not to be interrupted if you need it.


You are expressing what you are thinking with your face

Influential people know very well that too much facial expressions are not effective in a critical conversation. There are moments that perhaps it would be better if my interlocutor does not know exactly what I am thinking or that he does not see the instinctive reaction of what he has just told me. Maybe afterwards I can calm down but my reaction was faster than my reasoning. This can damage the conversation. I know it is difficult to manage, but not impossible!


You are thinking you could lose something

One thing is clear: every decision you take means that you are losing something elsewhere. Not making a decision is also a decision. Important: if we are thinking we are losing something we run the risk of not being true to ourselves and to others, our behavior will not be sincere or transparent.

The problem is that we can end up saying something that is not true just because of “fear” and this would not be very effective. Instead of this we can gain better relationships as the other person can see us in another light, much more sincere and close to her. Always keep in mind that the tone of your voice makes a difference in how you say and express thoughts.


You are doing things during the conversation

I’m almost sure that you have already have had the experience of thinking of something else during a conversation or a business meeting! “Did I close the window in the bathroom?”, “I forgot to call the hair saloon…” Watch out!  One of the key values ​​in a conversation is “Here and Now”, living the present with all the senses, staying present with your mind, body and soul. Keeping this value present will prepare your future more efficiently, and you will be a better listener.


You are thinking only about your position

Have you really understood what she means? What was her intention? Behind every behavior there is always a reason! Try to empathize and approach the other person showing that you are listening and understanding. Explain your position calmly without judging. Giving advice when nobody asks for it is a position of arrogance. Let’s avoid sentences such as “You have to”, “you must” … they express something like of “I know it better”.  Surely in a difficult conversation such a position can only make the situation worse. If you want to give your vision or your opinion, ask for permission “can I tell you what I would do?”, “Do you mind if I tell you my opinion?”, “Can I give you my feedback on this?” … Asking for permission, we express eye level communication and respect.  Important: Even if the other person asked for your opinion, don’t think she will do what you have told her to do!


Your voice sounds arrogant and your posture looks distant

Chin up, ironic voice, arms and legs crossed … a posture that expresses arrogance and closure will also make close your speech partner. Keep a straight and partner oriented position to the other, open your arms and speak with open hands palms up. She will perceive you closer and more open to collaboration.


Try to do everything in a hurry

The rush was never good counselor and can be a bad companion in a critical conversation. Investing time in this type of conversations is important for the future of the relationships. If you want to do things well done and in less time, take time, you will avoid mistakes which at the other side would only make you lose even more time!


To think that the other person is exactly like me

We are unique and unrepeatable human beings. Each one experiences life in a different way and each one has a different perception of the same reality. Accepting these differences is important to move forward in life for gaining healthy and enriching relationships.  Accepting others and their way of being does not mean approving what they do or think, it is simply a step that goes beyond tolerance: acceptance gives us peace and tranquility, tolerance is not a complete status, can give us unsatisfaction.

In every critical situation control your emotions, before they control you. Learning to manage emotions is a valuable resource for any situation in personal or professional life, not only for managing critical conversations.  In any case, remember that behavior is communication, we are what we communicate and how we communicate it.

What you express is what people see and think about you, they judge you for what they see and hear.

Would you like to know more about managing critical conversations? Do you want to learn how to manage emotions? Contact me here

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