The #1 Rule When Having a Difficult Conversation
Difficult conversations are challenging for everyone.
The single most important goal when having a difficult conversation is to be heard and understood. This requires keeping the other person engaged rather than shutting down and tuning you out.
How to do this?
Always begin your sentences with “I” rather than “you.”
Beginning the sentence with “you” immediately puts them in defense mode.
“I feel disrespected when you’re late for our weekly meetings” is about your feelings.
“You are being disrespectful when you arrive late to our weekly meetings” is about their character.
No, this is not just a matter of semantics. (Few things are.)
What you want is for the other person’s behavior to change. Your best chance to achieve this is to speak in a way that disarms the other person so they absorb your words.
You should try this approach for your next difficult conversation.
Uh, let me rephrase that.
I urge you to try this approach for your next difficult conversation.