Featured Posts
Recent Posts

Are difficult conversations really difficult?

Every conversation is a relationship. Those words were taught to me decades ago by a very wise High School mentor, in Manchester England- just before parents evening. And decades later, I still pass on the wisdom. Every conversation matters. And when we build up trust with colleagues, friends or partners, we can enjoy them.


If anyone has ever vented their anger towards you, you will have experienced the nora adrenalin response. That fight or flight trigger increasing blood flow,increasing the pace of your heart beat and reducing access to your mental resources. very normal physiological responses

In conversation with Dr Bill Pettit https://thedrspettit.com/about-bill/

Dr Bill talks of us being born with a starter pack! Its contents are: unconditional love (babies aren't moody!) innate well being and a physiological mechanism to alert us of danger.

We have everything we need.

I am sure Winston Churchill or any other historical figure, will have managed tricky conversations in their time. Parents do, lovers do, if you have to negotiate a refund at a major store- the outcome depends on the staff and your relationship, in the moment.

As professionals, particularly new to leadership roles, we imagine all the what ifs in the world when we are notified of or confronted by an unhappy colleague or group of colleagues.

What do we do next?

We slow down our racing thoughts!


To gain clarity and bring the body to a place of calmer activity.

At what stage do words intervene? How does a work based professional manage it?

Is the conversation urgent?

Is it reasonable?

Is it in fact legal?

Does it convene any statutes?

Does it convene agreed roles?

Is it clear - are expectations simple and clear?

Do you both understand what is being said?

Language is how we understand - or misunderstand each other. Misunderstandings occur when we each have a different end point in mind, and we are listening for gains on that outcome. This might well work if you are selling a car, it doesn't work too well with an irate adult in front of us, asking us what we are going to do about the kid in question.

Check point

Listen to the other person without anything on your mind, letting go of fears or anger. Listening does not constitute agreement, rather it brings a calmness, a connection person to person. It actually slows down the bodies physiological response. Yours and the angrier person before you.

Being unconditional in any response has a remarkable impact. It allows time (mere seconds) for the body to settle and the mind to clear. You have access to all mental resources once more and when you do speak - it is with wisdom not folly.

Understanding state of mind is one of the simplest and yet greatest gifts we can enjoy both professionally and personally. The invisible causal factor, almost always missed, is our thinking. Yes, ours, not the other person's angry thinking. Ours.

When we look to our own thought in the moment, we can sense the quality of it, through how we feel. When we suffer fear, worry, anxiety - we don't have a clear mind. We can't make the best possible reply or decision. Allowing the mind to quiet down happens naturally when we are listening unconditionally.

Find out more about state of mind here

Courtesy of Dr Bill Pettit and videographer, Julian Freeman. starsofwellbeing.com