posted on Nov, 13 2012 @ 05:19 AM
Let's face it: sitting down and having a serious talk with somebody else about an issue can be a rather daunting task. There is a high risk of the
relationship deteriorating from this point onwards and the outcome of the chat itself is unpredictable. In addition, there are other variables that
can affect the successfulness of the talk, including the atmosphere of the location, the timing and the mood of the participants. While the conditions
will rarely be optimal, one should strive for the overall mood of the discussion to be calm and collected.
The following is a guide to help individuals who have a person in their lives that they need to have a serious talk with about an issue. It is not
perfect and there are bound to people who disagree with sections of it, but I believe it is a good resource to have at your disposal. Whether the
person is a significant other, a relative or a friend does not matter. Achieving a constructive and meaningful discussion that ultimately results in a
change in behaviour is the goal of the discussion.
Step 1: Prepare
As the saying rightfully goes, "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail" and this is no exception. Arrange a time that is friendly to both you and
the subject. This should be at a time when they are most calm, aware and receptive to the views of others. Ensure the atmosphere of the location suits
the mood of the conversation. Factor in any external variables that might affect the conversation. Write a brief list of what is wrong, what needs to
change, why you are doing this, and anything important you might forget to say once emotions run high and you are unable to think as clearly as
Step 2: Inform them
Deciding when to inform them is up to you. You might want to let them know earlier in the day that you plan to have a talk with them later that day,
or you might decide to just drop it on them as they walk in the door. If you think they are the type of person that might try to avoid or postpone
the talk indefinitely, then go for the second option. (Remember step 1 though). Either way, make sure the delivery is polite and sincere.
Step 3: The talk
After sitting down opposite each other in a quiet place free from distractions, it is time to have the actual talk. Have your paper next to you as a
cue for your ideas, but don't bury your face and read like it is a script. You want this conversation to feel authentic.
a. The opening: in a calm and reasonable tone, inform them that there is an issue in their life that needs to be addressed. Be as clear and
concise as possible. Don't fall into the trap of going off on tangents; introduce your key thoughts on the issue and what exactly needs to be
discussed. Stress that this is not a lecture, but a discussion.
b. The middle: try to remain calm and collected as you expand on the key ideas introduced in the opening. Elaborate on the fact that this issue
has wide-reaching implications for others as well as the individual. Remember that this is a discussion. Inform them that you value and welcome
their input and you are doing this to help them. Let them talk and voice their concerns about the issue. If you find they are mostly silent,
encourage, but do not force, them to respond. Also remember to mention that everybody has their issues and they are by no means abnormal or different
in this regard.
c. The conclusion: the conversation will eventually lead to a close; happy, unhappy or neutral. When you sense this, let them know that the
reason for the talk was ultimately to resolve the issue. Continue to be polite and courteous towards them no matter how rude or hostile they have
become. Try hard not to repeat what you said earlier or they will feel like it's a lecture. Also let them know that you are there to talk to them
about their issues or any others they come across.
Step 4: Ending the talk
By now you probably feel warn out and emotionally exhausted. Depending on how well the conversation went, you might like to end it with a handshake or
a hug which reinforces the idea that you are somebody genuine and supportive that they can talk to in the future. If the discussion ended in a
negative manner, then remain as calm as you can. Try approaching them once, if they resist then step back and let them have some alone time.
Step 5: Reflection
After it is over, you should feel a huge weight off your shoulders. It's time now to let things be and give the other person some space and have your
own. Think about how the conversation went and what improvements you could make. Don't fixate on the negatives, but be aware of where you went wrong
and learn from your mistakes. Give yourself a pat on the back for having the courage and conviction to go through with the talk. If you were sincere
throughout, then you have probably changed a life for the better.