We all face difficult conversations that need to be handled. And we all dread them. We call those Courageous Conversations, because they require so much courage to start. But these conversations don’t have to be daunting. From the messy to the bossy flatmates, we'll show you how to approach your flatmate and have a courageous conversation face to face.
Deal with your fear
Fear has many disguises. One way through which you can recognise fear is to identify excuses like “the situation is not that bad” or “maybe the problem is not worth mentioning”. Fear is one of the main reasons that stop you from having a Courageous Conversation. Before avoiding a courageous conversation ask yourself these two questions “What are the consequences if I do nothing?” and “Am I willing to accept these consequences?”.
Name the issue
Start the conversation with being clear on what you would like to discuss, a good starting point is something like “I want to talk with you about the effect…….. is having on ……..”. This avoids being confrontational and you have the beginnings of a mature conversation.
Select a specific example that illustrates the behaviour or situation you want to change
After naming the issue give a clear example of what you are talking about, making sure that this is 100% accurate and backed up by facts. Checking the accuracy of information ahead of time is key.
Describe your emotions around the issue
The more sensitive the issue is, the more likely it is that your emotions are raw and exposed. If the issue is emotional for you, then you need to make sure that you are calm enough to be clear about what you want to say and how you are feeling.
Identify your contribution to this problem
Your ego can get in the way of being objective and achieving a solution. In a Courageous Conversation you express your feelings and are true to yourself. If you are protecting your ego you will focus on being right instead of being true. Saying “ I recognise that I have……..” will help to defuse the situation. After all you don’t want the other person to feel attacked as they will fight back and then you’re back to square one.
Indicate your wish to resolve the issue
Make sure that your flatmate understands that your main goal from the conversation is to solve the problem and live in harmony.
Invite your flatmate to respond and be prepared to experience some discomfort
Finish off with something like “ I really want to understand your perspective… Talk to me…”. In a Courageous Conversation you have to be prepared to discuss the “undiscussable” – the issues that you don’t want to deal with.
Agree a way forward
Even if you feel like they are solely to blame, it’s important to agree a practical and positive way forward that involves everyone. Start by saying, ‘I’d really like for us to be able to put this behind us so how are we going to resolve this?’
Avoid these 7 Key Mistakes at ALL Cost
Avoid turning your courageous conversations into toxic conversations!
- Talking too much
- Having an unclear message
- Not thinking about the other person’s feelings
- Starting the conversation by saying “So how is it going?”
- Trying to oversimplify the issue. If it was simple then it wouldn’t be difficult to deal with!
- Over-rehearsing and memorising the script – this will block you from being real
- To get caught off guard and to lose sight of the goal. When this happens we tend to fall back into our defence mode or if it’s really bad we go back to “combat mode” and it can turn ugly!