It’s not easy to have meaningful conversations. There are many skills that support the change from a quick exchange to a deep, honest conversation.
Find out how you can build your skills in honest conversations.
Core Skills for Honest Conversations
Honest conversations are much easier if you’re prepared to listen and you’re accepting. You might have a different view, but its essential to acknowledge what’s been said.
Patience and flexibility can also go a long way. It’s not always easy to express a complicated topic. Leave space, and be generous in your interpretation of what you hear. Summarise what you’ve heard if needed and allow clarifications to really understand what’s being communicated.
There is an art to finding the right space for an honest conversation. Timeliness is key: it can be very difficult to have an honest conversation if rushed for time, or at a time of intense stress, for example. It’s hard to share honestly and authentically if it’s not a safe space.
Building Your Skills in Honest Conversations
The skills for an honest conversation are seem straight forward, but it takes a lot of time to build these skills.
Get Used to Checking In
Checking in with friends, family, colleagues at work and others is a powerful habit that helps to build connection and strengthen relationships. A check in is a great opportunity to share troubles, seek advice and share a good time.
Checking in will also help you to find people that you really resonate with.
Talk When You’re Good and Bad
Everyone experiences highs and lows, but there’s a temptation to reach out only when you’re struggling. It can be tough to go straight into these conversations, if you haven’t already built rapport.
Checking in when things are going well is a great idea. Building trust and connection can make it much easier to talk through a tough situation. Don’t be afraid to reach out when you need help, but it’s even better to get in the habit of talking regularly, when you’re good and not so good.
Vulnerability is important! Showing vulnerability helps others to share and helps others to relate to you. Listening closely and asking questions are valuable skills… but showing vulnerability can take you even further.
Not every conversation will have value to you personally. Embrace the idea that you’re contributing to a community by checking in on others.
Checking in builds connection, and connection builds community. It’s rare that acts to support others aren’t reciprocated and this process becomes a virtuous circle.
Train These Conversation Muscles
It takes some time to build up the skills in honest conversations. We’re building up these ‘conversation muscles’ every time we’re have an honest conversations, when we take the conversation to a real truth-telling space.
The more often you have these type of conversations, the better you’ll get.