“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.”
Being spontaneous in many aspects of our lives can be fun and interesting. However, being spontaneous when it comes to difficult conversations – not so much. Preparing for our hard conversations takes time and energy and thought – all of which make those discussions more effective, productive and constructive. Preparation can even make them interesting and illuminating!
The thing is, our dread about a conversation can negatively impact our approach and keep us in a mindset that is counterproductive. So, what does it take to properly prepare and gather our courage for a challenging conversation when we feel full of dread, fear and distress? How do we gain the much-needed distance and confidence to effectively “be” in conflict and interact in ways that reflect our values.
Preparation takes different forms and this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog will hopefully help prepare you to be clear on your intentions about a conversation – what you want to have happen, how you want to communicate, and who you want to be. Try the following questions as a way of doing this, as you consider a conversation you are dreading.
- What is the purpose for this conversation? What is most important about that purpose?
- How might the other person describe their purpose? What is most important to the other person?
- What do you dread most about this conversation? What might the other person dread?
- What outcome do you want? What outcome would be acceptable, even if not exactly what you want?
- How do you want to “be” in the conversation?
- What tone of voice and body language do you intend to have?
- What are the main messages you want to convey?
- What message(s) do you want to be most prepared for that the other person conveys? How will you ensure you interact in the way you have described (as to how you want to “be”)?
- What will it take for you to remove the dread from the conversation?
- How else will you align how you want to interact, with the outcome for which you are aiming?
- What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
- What insights do you have?