Saturday, May 31, 2008

Making a Mountain out of a Molehill: OR: How to turn a simple chat into a high risk divisive argument.

Sometimes an invitation to get together to discuss or chat about some problematic issues is really just what it purports to be, just an invitation to create mutual understanding and increase dialogue. Too often paranoia and suspicion creep in and tensions begin to raise. Ulterior motives are suspected, unnecessary restrictions are imposed and a good opportunity may be lost.
When this happens, practice some deep breathing and keep your cool. You may have to practice your most diplomatic and gracious behaviors in order to create a safe environment where everyone feels comfortable to express their thoughts and feelings about the issue. Treat it like a chat with friends and a welcoming family. Create a safe place and atmosphere for you and one for your guest(s). This doesn’t mean that you have to give up anything. It actually means that you are more likely to make progress. Consider that it may not be the progress that you want at this time, but if you have created a safer environment for future discussions then you have made substantial progress.
If on the other hand, you get caught up in the tension and paranoia, you will have made your own contribution in Making a Mountain out of a Molehill.

Please see VitalSmarts for more information on Crucial Conversations and creating safety.

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