- Clarify before reacting. Be curious before making a judgment. Feel a feeling; ask a question. Jumping to conclusions is not the kind of exercise you want.
- Declare what you need. Don’t stuff your emotions. Get out what’s bothering you onto the table before keeping score and determining you are losing. And remember that no one is a mind-reader.
- Go to your corner and take a time out. Regain composure before getting into problem-solving mode. You can’t think while seeing red. Time-outs are just fine when emotions rise.
- Attack the problem, not the person. Even put the agreed-upon issue on a piece of paper and put it on the table, to pull it away from the person and focus on exactly what needs resolution. To be kind is to be clear; to be clear is to be kind.
If you need some more tips on tough talks, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org