This is one of a series of brief articles on holding difficult conversations. In earlier issues of Ki Moments, I suggested ways to open communications that create mutual respect; we talked about the importance of knowing your purpose for the conversation; and we added Inquiry and Curiosity to our conversational toolbox. Here the topic is Advocacy.
Advocacy is the flip side of Inquiry – the opportunity that you open for yourself to tell your story. What can you see from your perspective that they've missed? Can you clarify your position without minimizing theirs? For example: “From what you've told me, I can see how you came to the conclusion that I'm not a team player. And I think I am. When I introduce problems with a project, I'm thinking about its long-term success. I don't mean to be a critic, though perhaps I sound like one. Maybe we can talk about how to address these issues so that my intention is clear. "
Tips for sharing your side of things:
Most important, speak with respect. On the aikido mat, we bow to our partner before beginning and ending each technique. Imagine bowing to your conversation partner before you begin the conversation. As you begin to lose your center, think about this, and remember that you advocate best when you respect your partner's story.
Good luck and good communication!
© 2005 Judy Ringer, Power & Presence Training
About the Author: Judy Ringer is the author of Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict, containing stories and practices on turning life's challenges into life teachers. Judy is a black belt in aikido and nationally known presenter, specializing in unique workshops on conflict, communication, and creating a more positive work environment. She is the founder of Power & Presence Training, and chief instructor of Portsmouth Aikido, Portsmouth, NH, USA. To sign up for more free tips and articles like these, visit http://www.JudyRinger.com