Say it, story it with support and say it again
The last part of handling conflict with grace is about how to get your message across to the listener. It is like being able to write a great story where someone will want to read it or hear it. As Nora Roberts says:
“You can fix anything but a blank page.”
― Nora Roberts
Let’s fix the blank pages of your conversation by reviewing at the first two steps of this process.
- Value you – knowing who you are, your own foundation is the best beginning. This is the process of understanding and living your truth in every moment.
- Effective Communication – recognizing that 90% of an effective communication style is listening. The other 10% is about choosing who you wish to be in this conversation – thus choosing your words – and ultimately choosing your words when you speak.
Let’s look at step #3 – Say it, story it with support and say it again. In the heat of the moments of conflict, most of you feel as if you have a blank page in your head. This blank page causes you to react to the situation as opposed to creating the story that you would like to get across to those in the conversation. Each of us have stories that we tell to make a point. My view to storytelling is three fold: choose a story that has a point or a lesson, keep it short and sweet, and tell it with gusto and humor.
What this allows you to do is to keep the attention on the key point of your message. You may be saying, “Denise, I am not sure what story to tell or how to shorten the story”. The process to make this happen is to practice your storytelling and enhance your skills so they are second nature to you. Practice by writing them down or rehearsing them in front of a mirror especially when you have a feeling that you will need them … difficult conversation.
Homework or projects … they are the same
Take, for example, conflict of getting someone to do something for you. Your children doing their homework or your team getting their portion of the project completed and delivered on time. Both of these examples are the same and there is no difference in the delivery of the message when you say it, story it with support and say it again. Break it down:
- Say it – first state to whom the conversation is directed: your team or your children, say their names … “John” or “Team”. Then state what it is you would like them to do … “homework” or “deliverables on time”.
- Story it with support – then go into a short story to help support exactly what it is you would like them to do.
- Children with homework – “I know that homework is the last thing you want to do on this sunny afternoon right after you have had a long day listening the teacher go on and on talking about this subject until you brain is about to explode. How about we make a deal? You go play for 30 minutes outside and then come in to do the homework.” In this process, you have let your children know you feel their pain and understand the overload they are in. Then you make a suggestion to help support your understanding. This is the story with support portion.
- Team members on a project – “Yes, the project is tedious and you would like to move on to the fun part of the project, I have been right where you are. Why don’t we take a different approach on this section of the work … let’s go off sight to complete this part of the work together and then go back to the doing your part of the project from there.” Again, story with support.
- Say it again – state again the objective of the conversation. You began with the outcome of the conversation (homework or timely project deliverables). Now you end it with the same intention or outcome. In this way, everyone involved hears what is expected. To take it one step further, you can have it repeated back for clarity.
Conflict with grace … Know who you are. Listen more than you speak. Communicate your point with a story. Your page will no longer be a blank page when you master this process.
If you would like to learn more about this process, click below to have a conversation with me. Conflict will never look the same again.