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Tips on having difficult conversations.

With the holidays right around the corner, we know at some point we all will be faced with that one family member or friend bringing up tough subjects that might make you feel uncomfortable.

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Ignoring the conversation only works for so long and bottling up unhealthy feelings can take a toll on our health. So it might make sense to prepare for these tough conversations.

I was reading some articles from the Harvard Business Review about preparing for these moments. I found a few that you may find helpful.

First, go into the conversation with a positive mindset. If you go in with a negative mindset of “this is going to be horrible…They never listen…Why bother?” you’re more likely to find this to be the outcome. So, try to change your mindset and be positive about the outcome.

This brings me to my second point, define your outcome. When you are getting into your positive mindset decide what kind of outcome you would like to see. This will help you when you are in the thick of the conversation to guide the conversation back to your goal in mind.

Third tip: remember to LISTEN. “Active listening” will go a long way in helping to guide the conversation and connect you with the other parties involved. One suggestion is to repeat the statement and ask if this is correct. This shows the other party that you are listening. Also, don’t be afraid to validate the points and show empathy. Empathy can deepen the connection between you and other parties.

Finally, recap the outcomes. This is important so you can give closure to the conversation.

I hope that this will not only prepare you for all of your holiday gatherings so all you have to worry about is enjoying the people you care about.

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