How to have powerful conversations

One topic that I love to explore with clients is that of powerful conversations

When we feel stuck, as though there is so much out of our control, or it feels as though someone else is making life really difficult, it can be tempting to complain it’s all about them/the job/the situation and how ‘if they would just’ act differently, our lives would be a lot easier. 

In fact, complaining may be covering up the fact that that we are fearful about communicating HOW we’re feeling and what we WANT the situation to be like because we worry that it’ll create confrontation and descend into an argument. 

What is a powerful conversation? 

Instead, we have the opportunity to stand in our power (show up fully, present and with awareness of absolute choice) and choose to open up communication about what’s going on. 

A powerful conversation is one where you clearly communicate your needs and feelings, hear what someone else is saying and together, explore a new way of being or setup for you both to move into. 

Why are we so fearful?

- We’ve been taught that we shouldn’t show up powerfully. Because we’re women, or employees, or ‘not like that’ or some other story.
- We’re afraid that if we do stand in our power, people will start talking about us behind our backs. We’re afraid of being talked about. 
- We don’t know how to have a powerful conversation about something that is really important to is. We have previously squashed our feelings, telling ourselves that it doesn’t matter and inside the resentment and powerlessness grows. After building up over time, this can show up as anger and we voice it aggressively. 

How to have a powerful conversation without being aggressive.

The first few powerful conversations I had I was physically shaking and sweating. I was breaking out of a cage I had kept myself in for decades. It was uncomfortable. 

Using your power in this way can be scary. We’re not only pushing through a barrier of fear, we’re also breaking down years of behaviour pattern. So go easy on yourself!

Below are some tips to help you navigate a powerful conversation. 

1) Plan out the conversation. Know what you want to communicate, what points you want to cover and what outcome you’d love. 

2) Explain - give reasons. Maybe how you want something to change or what you’re already changing and why. For example, I’m creating some more time in my schedule to start a new project and improve my skills so I’m reassessing what I’m committed to at the moment. 

3) Practice beforehand. If you’re not used to communicating powerfully, getting used to expressing how you're feeling and delivering it gently can take time. 

4) Ask for what you want (would love!) Clearly communicating what you WANT (as opposed to what you don't want), allows the recipient to instantly see how they can help you achieve it. 

5) Be open and listen. Communication is two-way. Being present in the moment and responding rather than reacting is key. 

6) Forgive the messiness of the process. The first few conversations might be uncomfortable. Be kind to yourself through the change!

What powerful conversations could change something for you?