Talking and Listening: A Tried and True Recipe for Successful Conversations in Challenging Times

It’s their story so hear them out:

  • Be curious
  • Be loving
  • Be patient
  • Don’t interrupt
  • Feel their feels
  • Avoid the urge to fix it

It’s your story to be heard so tell it skillfully

Give the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth

  • This is how I view what happened…
  • This is what I felt when that happened…
  • This is how I am affected now…
  • This is the help I need…
  • This is what I have learned…
  • This is how I can best proceed


At this point, the past is done!! Time to look at where we are in the present…

Stop and assess

Acknowledge, acknowledge, acknowledge

Assess common ground

Steady…steady…time for forward motion…

Agree on some form of mutual progress

  • This can be to solve the problem
  • This can be to acknowledge progress and stop for now
  • This can be to agree that there is need for a cooling off period
  • This can be to agree to proceed with caution
  • This can be to agree on a mutual activity outside of the conflict
  • Agree on a mutual benefit or outcome

Brainstorm new strategies

  • Only now do we consider solutions
  • Be creative—stay in the right brain for now! 
  • Focus on what is in the best interest of the other or others
  • Win-win
  • Forward progress

Remembering who we were and how we got there, move from present assessment to future solution and back again as needed to make positive progress. 

When we feel overwhelming emotions, acknowledge that we have slipped back into the past…

Stop, Drop, Roll to the Present before making any attempts to Progress to the Solution!