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7 tips to Speaking Effectively: Escaping the Collision!


fistsThe conversation is getting heated. You can feel the pressure inside you building. You need to speak. How should you speak so you get heard with adding fuel to the flames? Try these 7 tips to speaking effectively in fiery conversations and see what happens!

  1. Slow yourself down and pause the voice inside your head. Remember, that voice is highlighting your emotional reaction and what you need to access is your rational processing. If you breathe, tell yourself ‘you can handle this’, you have a greater chance of focusing on what is really being said and therefore what you actually need to speak to.
  2. Make sure the other person knows you are slowing down and focusing on them. This includes attentive and curious eye contact, settled body movement, and encouraging facial expressions. It’s ok…you might as well find out what the person is thinking because they are thinking it anyways.
  3. See the other person the way they want to be seen first (paraphrase of a Mahatma Gandhi quote!)
    • Ask questions that link to what is being said.
    • Verbally prove you heard what is being said, even if you disagree.
    • Verbally agree where you can, as often as you can. Fascinating how agitated people like to be agreed with!
    • Own what is yours to own. If you erred in some way, own it without excuses.
  4. Consider, do you even need to share your perspective? How necessary is it? How much value will your thoughts add? Can you let the other person go unchallenged? When might there be a better time to come back and address a specific comment or moment in the conversation?
  5. If you decide you need to share your perspective, then ask permission to share your thoughts. There is no point wasting your time, energy and words if the other person is not ready to hear you. The worst they will say is ‘no, I don’t want to know your perspective’, in which case you repeat 1-3. What you won’t do is get heated!
  6. When you do share your perspective cover off these basic areas: what you value, your hopes, your concerns and your intentions behind anything the other person saw as problematic conduct, and what you would like to see moving forward. Be measured – go slow, pace yourself, speak for brief 20-30 seconds of time, keep your tone as normal as possible. This is how you make sure you don’t undo all of the great work you did in steps 1-5.
  7. After you speak, pause and listen and see what the other person took from your perspective. Prove you heard them and re-clarify anything that requires re-clarifying…of course in a measured manner.

This should add water to the flames and turn the conversation into a more productive dialogue that allows the relationship to stay intact.

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