8 tips to salvage a conversation gone bad
16 July 2016, 09:23
Nairobi - Conversations are the building blocks of relationships. Face to face, on phone through social media… The more you talk the better.
In fact, a bad conversation is better than no conversation, contrary to the popular misconception that speech is silver and silence is golden. Silence is only golden if it is part of a conversation, working to enhance rather than avoid it.
The trick is to know how to take charge of a runaway conversation and guide it to fruition; the aim always is to influence the other person to your side.
And you can, if only you keep your head and follow these 8 tips, just don’t stop talking. (Ok, from time to time, you need to stop to draw in a breath, you know)
Even though you may not realise it, other people may be quite adept at reading your pressure points. They may know just what to say to get you off your rockers. Beat them to it, and when they attempt to exploit those buttons react uncharacteristically. Rather than being annoyed, take it in good grace, smile and say how much you care about them.
Recast in better light.
Rephrase whatever the other person in positive light. If he says you are having an argument, politely inform him that it is a discussion. This allows for civility and listening and limits his choices to only positive reactions. It also makes him feel bad for being argumentative in a discussion. Nobody wants to be bad.
Nairobi - Don’t let the other person portray you in negative light. Change their characterization of you into an admirable quality. Don’t let them get away with calling you ‘a stubborn know it all’. Remind them that you are a persistent person passionate about the subject. And also that it is not an argument, it is a discussion. In case they have forgotten.
Call on History
Use a past shared experience that helped get you through before. This alerts the other person that things are not going well and that you are actually good people stuck with a bad subject. It reminds them that your relationship is bigger than your disagreement and that you shall overcome.
Asking questions allows the other person to really think about what they are saying and cools them down. Most important it gives you an opportunity to understand what the other person is really about, and how to address their concerns. You may find you are assuming more than is actually said.
A job well begun is a job half done. If you anticipate a disagreement later on, start positively. Make as many concessions as you can, and draw attention to this as you confront the thorny issue. “So far we have agreed on over two thirds of our concerns, it only remains this…” It should work.
Don’t Surrender your Power.
Be confident about your contribution. Politely correct misconceptions as they arise.
If it is getting out of hand uncontrollably, beat a hasty retreat and try another day. Don’t kill it now by persisting, leave it for another day.
Thus says the man yet to win an argument.
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