>Just returned from Coimbatore. This trip was for a purpose of having certain conversations, that too really difficult ones. These conversations are probably one of the stepping stones to ‘growing up’. There is no help in these conversations, there is only your own intelligence, sense and unhelpful emotions (which crop up every now and then). Often they are of a sensitive issues which requires all kinds of delicacies in conversing which you might not even know existed until you face the situation!

So whether it is asking your boss for a raise, or telling your parents about something they won’t approve of or breaking up with your spouse. Here are some tips, from all my preps to have difficult conversations.

Why are you having this conversation?
This is important cause it gets you in the right perspective. Firstly be clear, are you talking because it means something to you, is it because of some work that needs to be done, or because it means something to someone else or whatever? Clarifying this with the person you are talking to will help a mutual understanding about why this conversation is happening.

Why are you talking to this person?
Is it because he is a friend, authority, concerned person? This will help you focus on what you should be talking. If it is some official conversation then better not be too personal etc.. If it is clear in your mind then probably the conversation will remain relevant for that person also rather than it becoming a one way stream of you talking and the other guy not knowing what to do.

What do you want from this conversation?
Is it to settle a matter only or do you want something more like an explanation or apology or you just want to bring something to their notice. Do you want a definite answer about something? Any monetary refunds? Once you are clear about this, then this will steer the conversation, and take it to an end.

How emotional do you want to get?
Talks can often become heated or argumentative. They can lose any purpose and become scattered. If you don’t mind fighting to make your point then its ok, but if it is your boss, you probably can’t do this. So keep in mind the extent you want to go, emotionally to assert your point of view. Also remember that if you get angry you might say many things you might regret later…

Some conversations will inevitably become emotional so its better you be ready for this. This will make it easier for you to manage your emotions.

Time Out
Be prepared to bail out of the conversation. Often discussions can start getting out of hand, where they don’t make sense or the other person is getting too aggressive or violent. Or whatever they are saying might be taking you off gaurd, in which case just call a time out. Saying ‘I am not prepared to answer this’ or ‘ I need time to consider this answer’ can often be a much better option than blurting out something that is not true.

For most of the above points you need to be clear to a certain extent about yourself, so take time out to be with yourself First!

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