Communicating in Difficult Situations

Have you been there?  That moment when you’re in conversation with another person and their communication style makes for a very difficult encounter?

Maybe it’s the tone of their voice?  Or maybe it’s their body language or the words they use?

In a recent communication skills workshop, participants shared their experiences dealing with difficult behaviours when engaged in conversation.  They also generated a fantastic list of tips.  And we think their ideas are much too great to keep to ourselves!

Here’s what participants said helped them make it through difficult conversations:

  • Listen actively – universally, people want to be heard.
  • Minimize internal and external distractions.
  • Be present.
  • Slow down.
  • Give your full attention.
  • Smile or use appropriate facial expressions.
  • Understand the power and impact of matching and mirroring body posture.
  • Pay attention to personal space.
  • Be concise and use words selectively.
  • Be open.
  • Think before you speak.
  • Refresh your communication skills.
  • Make sure your voice matches what you are saying.
  • Engage in timely,  assertive discussions.
  • Avoid the use of devices when in conversation – put away your phone.
  • Treat people as equals – don’t talk down to people.
  • Be respectful.
  • Be inquisitive and ask good questions.

About the Author:

Gerard Murphy owns Barefoot Facilitation Inc. – a consulting company based in Nova Scotia, Canada.  Follow Gerard on Twitter @trybarefoot.

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