On Being a Librarian

Trends, Achievements, and Perspectives

Difficult Conversations

I suspect everyone experiences awkwardness or discomfort or even fear during some conversations whether with a spouse, child, parent, colleague, employer, or neighbour.

I recall decades of my life avoiding uncomfortable situations until it was absolutely necessary to have the conversation.  I would turn deep red.  My chin would tighten up to the point where my lips hurt. I would sputter. I would make concessions. I would give up.

Over the course of many years, I learned many assertiveness strategies and began understanding my self-worth and where my professional and boundaries were located.

I learned that conversation thought to be difficult can yield productive and important behaviour changes.

It took a while, but I developed strategies that included preparing for the conversation removing assumptions and preconceived ideas I might have about the topic or the person.

Through some training, I developed an attitude of discovery and curiosity demonstrating acknowledgment of feeling and understanding the shared information showing that I’ve heard and understood.

Now, in leadership roles as I advance in my career, developing greater empathy and compassion is another facet that I find help facilitates productive and respectful conversation.

To open the conversation that might be sensitive for the other person, here are some statement that I use:

  • I’d like to talk about (topic) with you, but first I’d like to get your point of view.
  • I think we have different perceptions about (topic). I’d like to hear your thinking on this.
  • I’d like to talk about (topic). I think we may have different ideas about how to move forward.
  • I’d like to see if we might reach a better understanding about ___________. I really want to hear your feelings about this and share my perspective as well.



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This entry was posted on 11/14/2017 by in Competency.
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