2022, the year of better conversations

Towards the end of last year, I wrote three blogs, all which with an undertone of the same message…having better conversations.


I spent time over Christmas thinking about this more, and came to the realisation that every misstep, mishap, or wrong turn in my life could have been solved with earlier and better conversations. Too many conversations with my parents, siblings, children, loved ones and friends have gone unsaid. I should have been gentler, more understanding, listened more and judged less.


It also made me think about why it is that we don't have these conversations. Perhaps a look, a quip, or an outright call out. At the times, we may fume, if you’re like me sometime later, you'll even have an internal dialogue with yourself, and replay the conversation with preparation for every retort and comeback.


Later, you'll approach the person and as soon as you say how it made you feel, the other person apologises, or looks embarrassed. They may not acknowledge you were right, but they will have taken note that it upset you.


Even in my work, past and present, often so much could have been done by having better conversations. I could have listened to others more, explained better, yet I just went on doing what i did, without telling people what and more important why I did it. The majority of times I did speak to someone in charge, but messages so often don't get passed on, so though a person who you thought needed to know, knew, those around you had no idea.


Often, I'd see problems, or hear of problems, and I'd just go off and sort them. This brought criticism from colleagues who thought I'd just gone off to do something I'd wanted. There was always a plan, I just didn't vocalise that.


The first step to consider is what do I need to do to have these conversations? Start with being open, acknowledge that in previous talk you may have missed or misinterpreted something and that you want to revisit it. This is important, as often you may have just misheard, or it acknowledges to the other person that you hear them, want to take the information board or want to know more. 


Explain that this is your perception, and that it may be wrong, but you want to check. If it is true, you want to work on how to not give that impression, admit, reflect on it, and either accept it, or if need be, change. 


If you disagree with the person, still acknowledge them, thank them, and say you'll give it some thought and come back to them if necessary. Then do that, if you still disagree with them, it's okay, explain that your behaviour or what you said is down to things you may know or have knowledge of that the other party isn't privy to. Then either explain it to them, or if you feel it won't achieve anything, then let it go. 


Change your thinking. You tried to explain to others, but what you do and who you are is made up of a lifetime of experiences. You are human and mistakes are made. Ensure you acknowledge this; we don't have the time to have deep conversations all the time. Sooner or later, you have to move forward and that is all you can do. 


I'm trying these techniques daily, and at the moment, I have a long list of people I need to speak to. I'll see where they lead and get back to you, but as always, any suggestions or improvements are welcome. 


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