Behaving y(our) conversations

Behaving y(our) conversations happen when you and I discipline our thoughts and ultimately, the conversations we have with ourselves, after all we speak more to ourselves than anybody else.

When our thinking is disciplined, calm and controlled, our conversations and interactions with ourselves and others are so much better. But, if they become chaotic, disorganised and uncontrolled, here comes confusion and her cousin, strife.

It’s so important to take control of our internal communications because they influence the quality of the interactions we have with others, particularly in the arena of difficult conversations.

When I talk to people about difficult conversations, often the issue is not the conversation itself but, the internal narrative they have built up about the other person. For example, they may say “I’ve heard they’re a difficult person.” “What if they raise a grievance about me.” Or they make themselves anxious with “what if” questions.

You know what, some of the conversations that we say are difficult actually turn out be much easier than we thought. I was curious about this, so when I spoke on this topic at the Nursing Times, Careers Live Events in Nottingham and London, earlier this year, I asked the audience the question, what makes a difficult conversation, difficult?

Answers included:

  • I don’t like confrontation
  • The person you are speaking to may be more senior
  • It’s challenging to speak up
  • It may be an awkward conversation
  • Our perception

Our internal narrative feeds our responses. I recall saying to the audience at Nottingham, never be afraid to speak up just because someone is more senior.

Right conversation, right time right purpose, right motive

Have you noticed how relatively straightforward conversation can turn into a difficult one? I have and, for the most part, it’s because we miss opportunities to ask pertinent questions of ourselves (before we address our concerns with others) such as:

At the same time, we need to be able to honestly identify our shortcomings, and our blindspots.

Check your blindspots

We all have blindspots – things we don’t see (or want to accept) about ourselves, such as habits, viewpoints or even relationships. Blindspots include:

  • Bias(es)
  • Assumptions
  • Presumptions
  • Our state of mind
  • Am I emotional?

I recall someone pointing out one of my blindspots. Ouch. It hurt at the time but, acknowledging it and, addressing it has made such a difference to my life.

Behaving our conversations is key to having healthy interactions and relationships with yourself and, others in the workplace and beyond. Before you have a difficult discussion, check your internal narrative, ask yourself pertinent questions honestly and, check your blind spots.

Remember be HR-wise.

© Dawn H Jones

Hello, my name is Dawn H Jones. I am an HR consultant, coach and blogger. I hope you found this blog useful if you’d like to receive regular content, we’d love to have you – press the subcribe button.


Please note that this post does not constitute specific HR or employment law advice if you require help please contact an appropriately qualified professional or drop me an email  –

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