Those ‘Difficult’ Conversations

Finding your authentic voice; a life lesson for all

Or Speaking your Truth with Love

As a professional communicator, I am paid to communicate well. In person, in writing, over the telephone, in meetings, to colleagues and suppliers, to customers, online ~ I’m never off duty in that respect. As a professional communicator you develop your own style and learn to adapt to your audiences’ changing needs. For those of you that are interested, my personal communication style is warm, direct, economical and slightly self-deprecating (it’s a British thing). I’ve been known to stand up in front of audiences of many hundreds, in new business pitches, even in front of a television camera and pulled off an amazing impression of confidence and calm. Sometimes the professional communicator in me starts to feel smug that I’ve nailed this communication lark.

Closer to home

Then you go home, or need to go to your GP or approach an issue with your mother, wife, husband, boyfriend, great aunt and all you have learned goes out of the window. Why? Emotion. You are no longer in control of your script, your content, the other person is not there to listen to you in rapt attention, they feel emotionally engaged with you and may react to what you say with shock, anger, disappointment or indifference.

Like me, you may currently be dreading having a conversation with someone close to you.

1. You want out of the relationship

2. It’s time to fly the family nest

3. You want to study in a different state, away from your best friend

4. You think your sister is being bullied but don’t know how to open the subject

5. You’ve lost your job, but haven’t got round to telling your partner yet

We all know, the list of difficult conversations is very long! They are uniquely difficult to you because of who you are and where you’re at in life right now. But part of staying healthy and sane and being true to yourself, is finding your personal or authentic voice, and using it to find the right words you need to express yourself, kindly, patiently and lovingly in situations that appear to be filled with anxiety, worry, rage or doubt.

It’s not an easy thing to do and doesn’t necessarily get easier as you get older but here are a few things you can try:

1. Prepare the other person. Let them know you want to talk, when you are both uninterrupted

2. Be clear in your own mind the one or two points you need to communicate

3. Rehearse what you want to say, and what you need the other person to hear and understand (N.B. hearing and understanding doesn’t mean they will agree)

4. Speak calmly in a lowered tone of voice

5. ‘Please let me finish’ is good if you are interrupted

6. Maintain steady eye contact, they will know you are serious

7. Speak from the heart and with compassion

It does sound very controlled and staged and there is no one rule about how to successfully navigate those difficult conversations we all need to have in life. Yes, we often get it wrong and get upset or angry but knowing your own mind and speaking your truth from the heart will ultimately be for the best for everybody in your close circle.

Finding your authentic voice to communicate your innermost needs ~ the needs that will propel you to live the life you desire ~ is a life lesson we all have to learn, it’s a vital part of your personal health and happiness.

We are all together on this one! Speak your truth with love.

© Suzy Rigg


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