Stormy Weather – Part 3 of 5
(Time to read: ~ 4 minutes)
We’ve been exploring the idea that how we handle the storms that arise – in ourselves and in others – determines the quality of our relationships.
And how to effectively harness the power of those storms so they peacefully generate benefits for everyone.
3 – Be prepared for an effective dialogue
This step assumes you’ve realized that you would like the other person’s support to address the challenge area in your relationship – you don’t feel able to do it solo.
This is a tough topic for me to speak about briefly, because this is the heart of what I teach in one-on-one sessions – how to prepare for and guide an effective “difficult conversation” with another person.
So in this post, I will simply share 6 key checks that, in my experience, indicate that I’ve have done the necessary preparation to have an effective conversation with someone I’d like support from around a “stormy” aspect of our relationship.
- How are you feeling?
If you are feeling peaceful, hopeful, and connected to the quality of relationship you want to co-create with the other person, you are well-prepared for a successful conversation. Trusting that they do care about you, and that the two of you will find a way forward that will work for you both.
If you are having “negative” feelings – like anger, frustration, hopelessness or guilt – you will probably not have the most effective conversation possible. The process covered in the Master Level 1 course is designed to teach you to shift yourself to the peaceful, hopeful, trusting feeling that contributes most effectively to a connecting conversation.
- What are you thinking about?
Are you wondering about what might be going on in the other person around the situation? Guessing that they may also be longing for something different? Curious about what thoughts they might have about how to improve things? Then you are in a good thinking space for a satisfying conversation.
Are you thinking about what you or they “should” have done, or should do now? Are you thinking about what they or you “have” to do, or “can’t” do? Are you thinking about any ultimatums (“I’m out of here” or “If they don’t ___, I’ll ___”)? Or thinking of them or yourself in terms of labels (“selfish”, “thoughtless”, “uncaring”)? These kinds of thoughts generally contribute to a difficult and painful confrontation rather than a connecting conversation. Again, the process in Master Level 1 is designed – not to get rid of these thoughts, but to go more deeply – to understand what they are telling you is important to you. Your thinking tends to automatically shift to being more connecting.
- Are you clear about what you want?
And are you able and willing to express what you want in terms of intangible needs or values – a set of criteria to help the two of you find mutually satisfying strategies – rather than on what you want the other person to do?
Being clear about what you want in this way is a very powerful starting point for a satisfying dialogue.
Or are you clear only about what you don’t want?
Or are you able to express what you want only in terms of what the other person is to do?
Whenever possible, I find it helpful to get the additional kinds of clarity outlined above before engaging in a conversation – it helps things go more smoothly and easily.
- Have you thought about what might be important to the other person? And found something that makes you feel more compassionate or warmly connected to them? So that you can approach them in a spirit of optimistic and curious collaboration? If not, I invite you to give this a try.
One of two things will happen. Either you will find something connecting, or you will experience more “negative” thoughts and feelings about them and/or the situation. This is great information. It means there is more for you to hear about what is important to you about the situation, before you try to engage the other person in dialogue.
- If the other person says “So what do you want us to do?” do you have both one or two concrete, tangible requests you are making to yourself, and one or two concrete, tangible requests of them that you would be willing to share with them?
If yes, it’s an indication that you’ve done another of the steps that are helpful preparation for dialogue.
If not, that’s a piece of preparation you might find very useful to do.
(Note: Responding directly to a query like this with your tangible requests of the other person is not always the most supportive strategy for having an effective and connecting dialogue. Master Level 2 offers a dialogue “roadmap” to help you choose the direction to go at each fork in the conversation road, to get to a mutually satisfying destination as quickly, smoothly and easily as possible.)
- Are you willing and interested to hear their point of view first? Before they hear yours?
Yet also willing to share what is up for you first, if they make that request?
If yes, in my experience, you are well-prepared to have a satisfying conversation.
If not, unless past experience suggests they will have the capacity to hear you first, then there is more preparation you could do that would increase the probability of an easy and successful outcome (again, covered in the Master Level 1 training).
What’s Your Next Step?
What would be the smallest, simplest thing you could do to incorporate the one aspect of this post that most appeals to you?
Are you willing to do that between now and the next time you receive an email from me?
If not, what would you like to do?
I invite you to consider doing that.
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Click here to see Part 4 in this “Stormy Weather” series
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These are offered in a private, one-on-one environment for maximum time efficiency, and at the same cost as a group event. You’ll be supported by me to work through one challenging situation from your own life. And you’ll leave with the “guiding” handouts we used together, so that you can apply this process to other challenging situations you encounter.
I also offer three other support options (click on the words in blue for more information or to book a session):
- A free, no-obligation time to connect and see if what I offer is a match for what you are seeking.
- A brief “Ask Glenda” session (15-60 minutes) to get support with some specific aspect of a situation.
- A coaching session (1-2 hours) to find a place of peaceful, self-connected power around a difficult situation, and/or to practice having a challenging conversation in a connecting way.
In all cases, you’ll see an up-to-the-minute picture of my calendar and you can book yourself in at a time that works for you. No phone tag or email chains! You’ll get an automatic email confirmation with a link to use if you need to cancel or reschedule.