Afraid To Talk?

Afraid To Talk?

Some conversations are difficult, and with the convenience of email and text many people manage to avoid having any of those difficult conversations.  They tell themselves that it’s easier to ‘just send a note’, but the real reason is they’re afraid to talk.

Talking involves a face-to-face interaction where we have to deal with the other person right then and there.  We have to choose words on the spot; we have to hear their responses; and we have to think of what else to say, and what if they get mad?! No wonder we’d rather just tap out a message and hit ‘send’.

But here’s the advantage of having the difficult conversation in person:  the other person is much less likely to be defensive and annoyed, and even if they are, you have a chance to sooth and smooth.  There’s a chance that a misunderstanding can be understood, that escalation can be avoided, and that a problem can be solved on the spot with some back and forth discussion.

How to do it?  The first rule is that this is a speech that is about you.  It begins with what you observe, how you feel about it, and what you would like to happen not what the other person did, thinks, feels, shows, or intends.

“I can hear the music you’re playing in your office, and I’m distracted by it.  I wonder if the volume could be lowered or the door closed, or something.”  (You can even add something self-deprecating to soften the statement: “I’m sorry, but I’m so easily distracted!”)

Not: “You play your music too loud.  Can you turn it down?”

Even if you’ve created a pretty message, if it’s delivered in any method other than in person it will be received – even slightly- with resentment or annoyance, and maybe even embarrassment or hostility. And these are not the ingredients for successful problem solving.

Afraid to talk?  See us about confident communicating.

Please visit our website to learn more about how our courses and services could improve your operations —  If it’s easier, free to call me directly at 202-298-7700.


Judith Pollock, President
Language at Work
4931 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016
Phone 202-298-7700

No Comments

Post A Comment