With all that is going on in our world and our nation, there are a lot of opportunities to have challenging conversations. They are often loaded with emotion, opinion, and personal experience, particularly if you disagree. Drs. John and Julie Gottman have provided evidence based research on how to make these conversations more productive and peaceful, whether in marriage or in political realms.

Here is what they suggest:

Questions to ask yourself before you get into difficult conversations (Taken from Gottman weekly email):

  • Am I ready to have this conversation? “Processing” means talking about the specific conflict or incident without getting mired in the emotionality of it again.
  • Am I calm enough to have this conversation? Are you able to differentiate between your own emotions and the events that occurred?
  • Am I willing to seek to understand the experiences of this event outside of my own?
  • Am I willing to speak from my experience without trying to persuade?
  • Am I willing to ATTUNE to the feelings of others and what the event meant to them? (The Gottmans have much to say on ATTUNEment)
  • Can I be fully present for this conversation (am I in a space with limited distractions)?

Conclusion

94% of the time, the way a discussion starts determines the way it will end. Taking a pause to prepare yourselves before the conversation begins will allow you to go into it with mindful intention. Come ready.

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