There are specific conversations we dread: the ones which we have to deliver bad news, discuss a sensitive subject, or discuss something that has gone wrong. The thought of having these conversations tend to fill us with anxiety and nervousness, and we dwell on what we will say. It is tempting to avoid the conversation and hope the problem will go away, and then we won’t have to deal with it. It sounds simplistic and silly even to say such a thing, although, too many times, we do just that, avoid having the conversation. When we avoid the conversation, that is what makes it difficult.
Conversation is defined as – expression and exchange of individual ideas through talking with other people.
When considering having any conversation, if we approach it from the point of view that is about expression and exchange of ideas, the difficulty and uncomfortableness are removed. Difficult conversations will be difficult if we label them that, especially even before we begin!
Early on in my professional career, I was told to avoid discussing religion, race, sex, and politics with my clients. Yet, throughout my career, I have had many enlightening and engaging conversations discussing all of these topics. Why should we avoid discussing these topics? If my goal when approaching one of these topics is to judge and convince the other person that my idea or opinion is the correct one, then the outcome will be “difficult” or undesirable. Instead, when I approach a conversation, it is to learn, understand, and gain more information about the topic or person. Then, two people will genuinely have a conversation – an exchange of thoughts and ideas, and how is that difficult?
“The goal of the conversation is to not to reach an agreement, but to gain understanding”
The profession of sales is based on conversation. Until rapport is established between the prospect and salesperson, the sale doesn’t occur. The more we understand our prospects, the better salesperson we become because we acknowledge our prospects, their needs and desires, and how our product or service will help them to achieve their desired goal. Sales is more about asking questions, listening, and discussing answers. It doesn’t need to be difficult?
When we approach any conversation with the desire to understand and express our ideas, the outcome is one of collaboration, creative results, and enlightenment. We serve each other best when we share our thoughts, ideas, and opinions in a spirit of understanding. When we approach any conversation in this manner, we remove the descriptive of difficult from all of them.