Posts Tagged ‘difficult conversations’

Being Assertive

June 12, 2014

To get ready for difficult conversations – asking a spouse to change an annoying habit, a supervisor to change his/her mind about something important to you, or a family member to reconsider a hurtful statement – use the following steps.

Think about how you’ll feel during the conversation. If you think you’ll feel tense or anxious, you might prepare by practicing some calming techniques.

Think about how the other person will feel. If the person will feel caught off guard, she may become angry or defensive. Be prepared.

Think about the different ways you can express your thoughts. Experts say statements that begin with “I feel” work best. These “I feel” statements can help you stay focused on your own feelings and your responsibility for them rather than on attacking the other person. Note: Be sure to use words that describe your feelings – “I feel hurt when you call a name” – rather than using the “I feel” statement as a setup for an attack – “I feel like you’re a jerk when you call me a name.”

Think about what the other person might say in return. This will help you think of other ways to effectively communicate what you want to say.

Follow through by having the conversation. Many people go through these steps only to back out at the last minute. But not having the conversation can leave you feeling bitter, hurt or wronged. Be assertive. Give yourself permission to express your feelings and have that conversation.