Someone hurts you, annoys you, mistreats you, misinterprets your intentions or leaves you baffled.
You wonder, “Should I say something?”
If you choose to speak up, then what? What should you say? What’s the best way to say it?
All of this uncertainty can lead to a major build-up of stress as we become weighed down, not sure how to proceed.
Sometimes letting the issue go is the best option (and that’s fodder for another blog).
But, when we choose to have a conversation, what does it take to talk with someone without all the stress we may be feeling today?
Here are my best five ways to de-stress conversations.
#1 Stop Avoiding Conversations: I use the “shower rule.” If an issue repeatedly pops up when I’m in the shower (or during another mind-freeing moment) that’s my sign to have a conversation. Then I follow the “one week” rule and promise myself to find the right moment within the next week. Dragging this out longer only leads to more stress.
#2 Stop Talking Until Your Emotions Die Down: When emotions are charged, stress skyrockets and conversations don’t usually go well. Hit the pause button and keep yourself from starting the conversation until you’re calmer.
#3 Stop Talking to the Wrong Person: Make sure you’re having the conversation with the right person. Don’t vent or gossip to someone not involved (unless you need coaching to help you figure it out). Don’t start a triangle or expect someone else to speak up for you. Stop complaining to others and start talking with the right person.
#4 Stop Withholding What You Want to Say: Be brave and speak from your heart. Figure out what matters most. Then say it without blame or judgment or even concern about the outcome (which you can’t control anyway) and you’ll have the best shot at being heard.
#5 Stop Using Technology: Pick up the phone or arrange time to talk. Text messaging and email cause more problems than they solve. Take the time to connect in person.
Start small. Choose just one of these behaviors and make a conscious choice to avoid it the next time you’re faced with conversation stress.
When you do you’ll be amazed by how much less stress you carry around.
So, I’d say that our relationships will flourish and we’ll feel less stress around conversations when we stop the five behaviors above. What would you say?
For more on taking the stress out of leadership and life check out my book: Less Stress Business: A Guide for Hiring, Coaching and Leading Great Employees