Before you speak, avoid making assumptions that will create feelings of anxiety, stress, and may cause us to attack or avoid
o Assumption that bringing up a controversial topic will turn other participants into adversaries
o False: The only way to keep peace is to silently accept that other person’s opinion
o False: Assumption that being honest does not care for the emotions of the other person
When you speak, choose to bring up topics in a way that brings people together instead of apart
o Accept responsibility for your role first and foremost
o Honesty is always the best policy
o Respect your opinion and the opinion of others
o Make space for your opinion and create space for the opinions of others
o Have an initial goal be a free flow of thoughts, feelings experiences..
o Keep in mind that everyone has different experiences and therefore will have a different point of view which are important information
o The Silent Treatment is a silent killer. Not to be confused with slowing down, considering the other participants viewpoint and responding to what they are currently sharing
o Humor is great to lighten conversation. It is NOT GOOD as a tactic to express displeasure at another person. If you are not sure, avoid humor
o Sarcasm, innuendo and exaggerated non-verbal communication NEVER has a place at this point of the conversation.
o Also off the table should be inflammatory, derogatory or emotionally sensitive data
o Sabotage might look like a win in the short term but creates stonewalling, defensiveness and contempt
As we begin the conversation, a few ideas about goals that build powerful speaking skills
o The goal needs to be a mutual win
o In case of competing goals, look for an “and” solution that addresses needs of both
o The goal is mutual understanding instead of correcting the other person
o The goal is for all participants to come away feeling they gained something not punished
o “Two wrongs don’t make a right”
o Peace is great but resolution is the goal
o When emotions start to stir, go back to the initial goal of mutual win
o Refocus as much as necessary to stay present and rational with thoughts toward goal
Putting the skills of using our voice together to create conversations that advance topics and relationships
o Articulate clearly and agree mutually on the desired goal—start as small as you need to
o Clarify the worst-case scenario and gain agreement on that
o Ask thoughtful questions and consider possibilities such as “And”
o Take breaks and move back in forth between feelings and questions to keep conversation moving forward
o Table (not avoid) topics that create “enemy” or “keep the peace at all costs” mindset until all parties are able to participate in a collaborative and productive manner.
o The solution comes at the end of the interaction or numerous interactions.