Quite often in life, we find ourselves stuck in situations where what we speak matters more than the decisions we take. When there is so much at stake in a conversation, what it takes is clarity of thought, confidence, and most importantly, the ability not to get intimidated by the person you are speaking. If you crack this code, you are most likely to succeed in crucial conversations.
You can define crucial conversations if the conversation possesses the following characteristics:
a) Very high stakes, i.e., what you speak will have a splendid bearing on your future.
b) Varying opinions of the people conversing.
c) Involvement of emotions.
If you are at a critical juncture of a crucial conversation, you might notice physical signs such as stress, anxiety, sweating. You can also get overpowered by strong emotions such as fear or anger. In such situations, you are at crossroads where either you may say something which can cost you dearly, or you may keep quiet and fall behind in the conversation.
As it is well said, "if you do not talk it out, you act it out." So, we should choose the right set of words with the right frame of mind while entering such sticky conversations.
Teenagers, in particular, encounter these situations quite frequently. They are in the development years when hormones can take over. They have to face various people interrogating them and scrutinizing them all the time, whether it is their parents or teachers.
For example, you may be coming out to your parents from the closet, or you may be discussing how your relationship is affecting your career with your teacher. These are some made-or-break situations.
You have to deal with such situations with a lot of caution and prepare for them as you prepare for any exam. First and foremost, it is imperative to realize whether or not you want to have this conversation. You have to decide if it is the correct time to start a conversation as significant as this. For example, if you want to talk to your friend about falling in love with them, you should decide if you wish to risk the friendship at this particular moment, or you can go with the flow, hoping things would get better with time.
If you decide to have this conversation, you have to understand its subject, i.e., why you want to have this conversation. You have to prepare yourself for responses to the kinds of questions the other person may ask so that you do not have to look out of sorts in an unpredicted moment during the conversation. You have to decide beforehand what your tone should be: Do you have to sound apologetic? Do you think you are right about certain things and take an aggressive stance? Or do you want to take a defensive stand? Or do you want a combination of both?
One thing you can do to decide this is to act like the other person in the conversation and talk to yourself. Try to question the reasonability of this conversation or try to find reasons as to what you are doing is for good.
The next thing you want to focus upon is deciding when to start such conversations. If you can crack the timing, you can very well succeed in shaping the conversation your way. For example, you are interning during your college, and your boss is putting you under undue pressure, taking a U-turn from what he or she promised at the start of the internship. It is tricky as there is no breach of contract you can bring to their notice. To deal with an issue like this, you should choose a time where you feel relaxed, but more importantly, your boss should be in a good mood and not too caught up in work so that they can listen to you with intent.
Lastly, you must move a step ahead and see what will happen if you do not have these conversations.
What will be the repercussions? Will they be too grave? It may allow you to deal with all the second thoughts you may be having about this crucial conversation.
You can do all this work behind the scenes. What should you do when you are actually in the middle of the conversation? Two crucial aspects of going through such conversations are
a) considering the feeling of the person you are conversing with and
The first aspect is about ensuring that even if you are upfront with the other person, assure yourself that you care about their emotions and thoughts. That is to say, do not be rude or insensitive in an attempt to be upfront. Secondly, it is important not to build stories and be honest when you have this conversation. Because you must have given a lot of thought before having this conversation, so it is time that you be honest. However, there is no harm to sugar-coat things a little to soften the blow.
Lastly, appreciate the rank or position, or authority of the person with whom you talk. A mere conversation should not give an impression that you are disrespecting their status. Also, try to listen to their side of the conversation as well. In a conversation, you have to be a good listener besides being a good speaker.
Therefore, crucial conversations are keys to passing high-stake hurdles in your teenage life. If you succeed