How do you feel when you need to talk to your child, your child’s teacher, your spouse or someone else about a touchy topic? Are you excited to address this important issue or do you feel like running in the opposite direction? Most people feel a significant amount of anxiety when they think about addressing a situation which is emotionally charged and opinions differ.
When approaching a difficult conversation you have three basic options:
1. Choose to ignore it and hope the situation magically gets better.
2. Launch head first into the conversation and handle it poorly.
3. Prepare ahead of time and handle the conversation well.
While it would be great if challenging situations got better on their own, since this rarely happens let’s look at how you can prepare to handle the conversation well.
Preparing for the Conversation
You will increase the odds of having a productive conversation if you prepare ahead of time. Begin by considering your motive for having this conversation.
In the book Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, the authors identify three important questions to ask yourself when preparing for a crucial conversation:
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