Relationships have come and gone throughout my life, many full of memorable conversations, some perhaps (as we all have had) not so positive. There have been business discussions, brief conversations with the passengers next to me on airplanes, and heartfelt chats with people dear to me who have passed away. Some of these, I can play back verbatim, others remain as only snippets.
I think about the times I may have hesitated asking questions during those conversations – have you experienced that, too? The thing is, difficult conversations often become more difficult when you muddle around with questions or thoughts. It is important to be clear, honest, and direct, with a swag of politeness. It becomes awkward when someone is attempting to tell you something, but instead of getting to their point, they go on and on and around and around. This is when you must ask the questions, even the ones you hesitate or fear most. Do so in a way that makes everyone feel safe, but still do it. The fear that holds you back will be the biggest regret you’ll have later.
The art of communication is a life skill. Speaking, listening and body language combine to create an impact. Have you ever spoken with someone whose arms are crossed or is staring off into the sky? They’ve checked out and being aware of that is important. If the subject isn’t urgent, ask, “Would you prefer to have this conversation at a different time?” If the issue is a vital one, make that known: “I realize this may not be a good time for you, but it is imperative that we find a way through this conversation because a resolution is necessary right now.”
The table turns back to you, too. You’ve had a long day, you’re tired, perhaps things didn’t go as well as planned, and someone comes to you needing to have a conversation. It’s the last thing you want to do, but you can see it’s important to them. If you need to, excuse yourself, go into the restroom, and take a few deep breaths. Don’t charge into the conversation with the thought in your head, ‘Gosh, I hope this isn’t going to take long…’ because you just set the energy up for negativity.
All of us need to have a voice and feel acknowledged. The power of a pause, deep breath, and conscious communication goes a long way. We are all humans on this plane – don’t forget to B-R-E-A-T-H-E.