3 Strategies to Painlessly Initiate an Awkward Conversation
There is nothing more painful than having to tell someone something that will make both of you uncomfortable. These situations are inevitable, and are part of being an adult interacting with the world. We always hope there is a “simple solution” to a complicated problem, but sadly, awkward conversations are part of interacting with each other and building relationships.
Thankfully, there are a few tips of the trade that will help with the anxiety that comes with making the first step. Here are three helpful tricks to help make a conversation feel less “awkward” and to help you feel more relaxed and in control.
1. Don’t Let Your Emotions Get the Best of You:
A lot of awkward conversations revolve around telling someone something that makes you mad/sad/overwhelmed etc. Remember take a deep breath and formulate a comment that doesn’t have an extreme emotion attached to it, otherwise the person will react to your emotions and not what you are saying.
2. Critique with The “Pre-Frame” Method:
If you need to give constructive feedback to someone, or have concerns about where a project or person is going, it’s best to come from a position of a professional. Try “’Pre-Framing” your idea before presenting it to someone. Pre-framing means presenting your suggestion without placing blame on the other person. Here is a helpful example:
Instead of this: “Why haven’t you been helping our client more? I have been getting angry messages from them because you haven’t done your job!”
“I see that there has been a lot of issues surrounding this client. Could I get an idea about what has been going on at your end? I can also tell you what I am facing with the client as I see there are some communication issues. I would like to connect with you ASAP so we can solve this problem together and be better prepared for future communications with this person.”
It shows a level of concern and openness, while also stressing that this is a problem that needs to be solved as soon as possible.
3. Make It About Balance:
When it comes to our personal lives, open communication is very important. There may be something that frustrates you about your spouse or child, but it is incredibly important to approach them with the idea of fixing something together, and not place blame entirely on the other person. Interpersonal familial relationships are essential for happiness, and need to be nurtured appropriately.
For instance, if your spouse is never home and you want more time with them, instead of saying the obvious: “I never see you anymore! Why don’t you want to spend time with me?” Try this instead:
“I want to spend more time with you. I know things have been difficult with ________, but you’re important to me and our relationship is important to me. I want to listen to your thoughts, and then I have a few of my own. Is it possible to find a balance?”
Bringing up something awkward usually means it is important but you’re just not quite sure how to approach the situation in the best way possible. A calming presence with open-ended questions and willingness to work together is the best way to get what you want, and have it mutually benefit the other person. We don’t want to cause unnecessary strain on our relationships (professional or personal), so starting with with respect and understanding puts you in a place of open communication, while letting the other person interact with you in a more positive head space. Our awkward conversations can now be made a little less awkward!
If you’re looking for more helpful tips and tricks to improve your communication, check out our upcoming Professional Development (CPD) events here.
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