Whether it’s a big talk with the boss, a deep process with your partner or breaking some hard news to your folks, communication is hard when the stakes are raised. Below are three tips to help.
Work on body language. You know what your mouth is saying, but what about your body? It can be hard to move outside your mind and examine your body language. Are you closed or folded with arms and legs crossed? Is your body pointing away from your conversation partner? Pay mind to your body language before you begin speaking and monitor it as you go, too. This will help stop you from sending nonverbal messages that may not align with your words.
Know what you want. It may seem ridiculous, but so many of us enter important conversations without a clear outcome in mind. Whether you want something vague like to simply be heard, to better understand who you are speaking with, or a more pointed goal such as securing a raise or dividing chores with your spouse, enter the conversation with a clear goal in mind. This will help mitigate unnecessary back and forth and keep you focused.
Create a calming ritual. If you’re the type to get worked up before a big talk, create a calming ritual to have beforehand. Whether it’s five minutes of meditation, a walk around the block with your pup or a journaling session about what you hope to achieve from your talk, taking a moment to ground yourself can be helpful.