Carol Barkes, CPM, MBA, is a conflict resolution expert, mediator, national speaker, educator and bestselling author who uniquely applies neuroscience to the fields of conflict resolution and negotiations. Her expert perspective is always fresh and relevant.
on 3 Ways on How to Avoid Awkward Conversations:
1) Listen more
People spend too much time thinking about themselves versus being present in the conversation. Conversations flow much better when one tries to cease thinking of what to say or how they will be perceived, and instead, focus on really hearing the other person. We tend to listen with a response in mind. We will be less anxious if we wait to truly hear the other person and formulate the next right thing to say based on what THEY said. Make it about them.
2) Slow down
When we get anxious our pitch rises and we talk faster. This makes it harder for the other person to hear you and for your brain to effectively formulate how to manage the conversation. Instead, teach yourself to speak slower. This releases pressure on your brain and allows the prefrontal cortex (our Einstein part of our brain) to stay engaged in the conversation. The other alternative is to stay anxious, talk fast, and trigger your own fight or flight response. When we react from a flight or flight response, we typically walk away from conversations thinking, “Oh darn it, I should have said . . . ” Slowing down is one of the best ways to avoid this.
3) Tell yourself a different story
Often the anxiety we feel is about the story we are telling ourselves. This thought creates an emotional trigger which releases chemicals that cause us to have a stress response if the story is negative. Instead, assume the best in others and believe you have everything it takes to manage the conversation well. Your brain will follow your lead.
Interviews: Carol Barkes
Carol Barkes, CPM, MBA, is a trend-setting mediator, business executive and educator specializing in the use of neuroscience to improve business performance, interpersonal communications, negotiation and conflict resolution processes for optimally successful results. She is also a speaker, educator, and author of the bestselling book: Success Breakthroughs: Leading Entrepreneurs and Professionals Reveal Their Secrets for Breaking Through to Success.
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