difficult conversations and colleagues

day 7


access the video below

or the audio

video transcript

Hello lovely and welcome to Searching for Serenity’s 7 day vide tutorial series, Dealing with Difficult Conversations and Colleagues.

We have already reached day 7!  I hope that over the last week you have found the tools, techniques and ideas I have brought to you to have been of great help.

Now, before we get into today's video there is something that I want to address with you.

There are so many people in this world who will sit and whine about how difficult their life is, how difficult their work is, their colleagues.  There are so many people who are overwhelmed with what they have to do, but they never seek help.  I want you to recognise, even if just for this moment, that you are one of the very few people on this planet who not only realises and has the introspection and understanding that things can be better, but that you are one of the very few people who takes action to make a difference.

In my experience, that is so rare.

I can deliver all of the tips, tricks, trainings, understandings, everything that I have learned over the last 10 years of my career in law and of the last 20 years of my working life, but if you don't practice these, repeat them, try to internalise them, then they will be lost.

What we are going to do is a wrap-up session, one of my favourite instant steps for when you are dealing with difficult people and difficult situations.  But you really do have to practice these steps and internalise them.  Sometimes the tools that I have been bringing you don't have much of an effect the first, second, fifth time that you use them; but with regular practice the net effect of feeling more confident and in control will increase.

At some point you will have this moment of realisation that you have been doing this so well for so long that it's not really necessary for you to even consciously think about what you are doing.  It will become natural.
It is all about repetition and internalising.

Over the course of the last week we have dealt with the more behavioural and psychological aspects of dealing with difficult conversations and difficult conversations.  We have examined our own reactions as well as those of other people and how to maintain this very mindful space where you are focusing very intently on the other person to allow you to adjust your actions accordingly.

Over the course of the last week we have looked at your own behaviour and responses, we've looked at how to make sure that you don't take on-board the emotions and criticism of others; because if you are going to have a difficult conversation then it is quite possible that that person is going to have an emotional reaction.  

Remembering that it is not about you, it is about them, thinking of yourself as an island is a huge thing because you will be focused on this other person, giving them the best service and response that you can, and not worrying about whether you have sweaty palms!

We have focused on looking at the behaviour of other people and rationalising their behaviour - discerning their motivations, finding common ground, to ensure that you are not so far away from these individuals.  The closer you are in the language that you use, the common reference grounds that you can find, then the easier it will be to have these difficult conversations because you don't become this external, unknown force but someone they know, identify with, like and trust even.

We have examined managing your own responses, your own releases when you feel the stress rising, both when you are able to walk away from the situation but also when you are smack in the middle of it. an intense conversation or meeting, and how you can take a couple of moments, without losing your own focus, to bring your responses down to manageable and co-operative level.

We have also looked at (and I am sure you didn't initially like me for this one!) the role of role-play.  The role of practising the outcomes.  This is huge because you will find some people who find positive or negative visualisation is the key to life itself; for me it is more about practice makes perfect and reducing the fear of the unknown.  Once you examine the reactions or go through this scenario there will be very little that can take you by surprise.  You get to know people better, consider their behaviours on a more mindful scale and this makes your consideration and investigation of other people easier as you will more easily discern their motivations, find their middle ground and consider how they are similar or different to other people that you know.

We examined boundaries; this is a huge topic that I could genuinely spend 3 months working with you on.  If you signed up to my 3-month 1:1 coaching programme we probably will spend a good proportion of our time looking at your boundaries.  These deal with maintaining yourself as separate form others, understanding that it's about them not you, but also ensure that you understand when to withdraw yourself from the situation.  I can't tell you the number of people I've worked with over the last 10 years who have ended a difficult telephone conversation and burst into tears because the person on the other end was being aggressive, abusive, personal.  Someone with a good set of boundaries would have ended the call after the second abusive comment, or given them a firm warning and told them that their behaviour was unacceptable.

This isn't just about the extremes of verbal abuse - lawyers get a lot of it but we're not the only ones - but also about raising that there is a space between you and other people.  Good boundaries mean that you are not letting people into that space unless they are trusted.  You do not have to let the thoughts of every other Tom, Dick or Harry in your life, affect who you are as a person.  If you deal with difficult conversation and difficult people then this is so important because otherwise you are constantly tugged on these highs and lows of emotions that have got nothing to do with you and are all about the person on the other side of the table and your taking on board their emotions instead.

As you can see, we have covered an awful lot this week.  You might not have realised it because it was contained within short videos but you have done a lot of psychological research, you've examined your own behaviours and you have started to adjust them.

What can we do on Day 7 that will have an instant impact when all this kicks off?

Many of you may have already seen a Ted Talk by a woman called Amy Cuddy.  Amy is the author of presence and she studies individuals who show power and authority.  Her Ted Talk focuses on the concept of faking it til you make it and that's really what we've been doing here for the last week.  I've been giving you the tools to allow you to unpick the conversations and the people around you but each step of the way it has been about doing something before you are quite ready.

At the beginning of this week we looked at your aggressive, submissive and co-operative stance.  Aggressive as I have termed it means power, taking up more of the room, exhibiting the more dominating behaviour.  Something I found myself unconsciously implementing are the results of Amy Cuddy's research, being power positions!

Power positions are powerful ways of standing, presenting yourself to others, that have been found to have a direct physiological effect on your body.  Amy Cuddy's research tracked the hormone testosterone, commonly linked to high authority, powerful responses.  She found that when people adopted these power poses for only 30seconds before delivering a speech or doing something that would otherwise scare them, their testosterone levels rise.

This is exactly what we have been talking about - adjusting your physiological response.  When managing your own behaviours we looked at reducing your blood pressure, heart rate and stress responses.  These positions have the effect of boosting your confidence and make you feel powerful.

It might sound daft, but just try it for a week.  You don't have to do these positions on front of other people (although you might find yourself doing them in front of other people!)

The most common and easily accessible is the superwoman pose; feet hip width apart, weight evenly distributed between your feet, straight back, chin up, hands on hips.

Do it now; you'll notice that you are taking up more room!  The aggressive stance as I called it earlier in the week. You are presenting yourself as solid, straightforward, not to be messed with.

Try doing this for a few moments before you go into a room for a difficult meeting, even if you just stand up from your desk and stand in the position as you drink your cup of tea, you will immediately receive the physiological effects without having to think about it.

Another favoured power position (which I found myself doing the other day and immediately made me laugh) is a very male-pose.  You might have noticed your male colleagues or boss doing this - leaned back in his chair, feet on the desk and arms behind the head.

Implement these power positions to give you a boost.

You will probably start laughing to yourself - and that is no bad thing!  

These will help boost the hormones to help you feel responsible, in control.  If you want to learn more I will pop the link to the TedX talk in the email because I think it is an important video for anyone to watch.  As you know, I am not reinventing the wheel here - I'm just helping you to keep the wheels on!

So, that is my final wrap-up for this week and I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have.

If you haven't already signed up to the other courses in the Fast Track Option then now would be a great idea; each course is 7 days long and they are built in a modular fashion to sit alongside each other.  You can focus on Eliminating Exhaustion or Boosting Your Confidence at Work and they will all start to mesh together to really improve your performance, help you feel stronger, more able to cope and more in control of your career.

I do hope that you have enjoyed this week, I hope that you have already seen some really positive changes.  I can't emphasise enough - keep practising, keep repeating the videos and if you need further help and guidance reach out to me either by email at hello@searchingforserenity.co.uk or in the Searching for Serenity Facebook group; it is all private but if you have gone through it, you can bet that other people have too and they will be there to support you.

Obviously, there is so much more that we can dive into and if you need more help I would encourage you to reach out to me directly.  We can work together 1:1 for 12 weeks to deal with your personal and specific work-related issues. 

If you have seen changes over the course of the last 7 days, imagine what we could do together over the course of 12 weeks together.

For the last time for this course, have an amazing day!