So often we don't choose the right Conversation before opening our mouth and the consequences are huge! Friendships are lost, marriages are tarnished and work relationships are left scattered. Anyone who has ever held others accountable realises that a person's behaviour during the first few seconds of the conversation sets the tone for everything that follows. You have no more than a sentence or two to establish the right conversation that leads to a healthy climate. If you set the wrong tone or mood, it's hard to turn things around. A bad beginning can result in a bad ending. That's why I say, your strength always lies in your opening conversation.
Solomon, author of the ancient Hebrew wisdom literature wrote, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Many people have never learned the tremendous power of verbally affirming each other. Solomon further noted, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators. What happened the last time you paid someone a compliment? Making someone feel good about themselves makes good business sense.
Another right conversation tool is using encouraging words. The word "encourage" means “to inspire courage.” All of us have areas in which we feel insecure. We lack courage, and that lack of courage often hinders us from accomplishing the positive things that we would like to do. The buried potential within your work colleague, friend or partner in his or her areas of insecurity may await your encouraging conversation. Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from their perspective.
Love is kind. If we are to communicate love verbally, we must use kind words. That has to do with the tone and way we speak. The same sentence can often have two different meanings, depending on how you say it. The manner which we speak is exceedingly important. An ancient sage once said, “A soft answer turns away anger.” Love doesn’t keep a score of wrongs. Love doesn’t bring up past failures. No one is perfect. We can easily mess up every new day with yesterday's wrong doings. Insisting on bringing into today the failures of yesterday only potentially pollutes a wonderful new day. If we are to develop an intimate relationship, we need to know each other’s desires. If we wish to love each other, we need to know what the other person wants. The best thing we can do with the failures of the past is to let them be history. Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment. Forgiveness is an expression of love.
Love makes requests, not demands. The way we express those desires is all important. If they come across as demands, we have erased the possibility of intimacy and will drive our partner away. If, however, we make known our needs and desires as requests, we are giving guidance, not ultimatums. A request introduces the element of choice allowing acceptance or denial, but ultimately allowing choice.
Finally, get into the habit of expressing verbal appreciation for the things you like about the other person and, for the moment, suspending your complaints about the things you do not like. Notice the changes in the emotional climate of your relationship. Words are a powerful tool and help formulate right conversation. When was the last time you used them to support, encourage and simply make someone feel good? Use them to strengthen all your relationships and notice the difference. Let me know how you go at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Odile Faludi
Odile is a passionate freelance writer and a business development consultant. She is trained in "Crucial Conversations" through VitalSmarts. They have helped 300 of the Fortune 500 realise significant results using a proven method for driving rapid, sustainable, and measurable change in behaviours.
Odile runs workshops in Australia, teaching Business Development Managers, Start-up Entrepreneurs' and Sales teams how to initiate client conversations. The aim is to widen your business net. It is a communication course which encompasses emotional intelligence and mindfulness. The focus of her program is on starting conversations and getting past “hello” securing many “new potential client” sales appointments. What has taken Odile thirteen years to learn she generously shares in eight hours with practical advice. The content of this communication course is not just for telephone calling but useful in meetings and can even be taken to the boardroom with you.
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