Communicate better this Christmas

Communicate better this Christmas

The festive season often comes with mixed emotions. While some people relish the celebrations and joy of having time to connect with family, it can equally be fraught with underlying tensions and unresolved conflicts. Guess what? This is the ideal time to practise your confident conversation skills.

Work is often pressurised in the lead-up to Christmas. Everyone seems to want everything done before December 24, so we often end up at Christmas lunch tired and snippy. Add to the mix a few of your least favourite or antagonistic rellies and you have a recipe for fireworks.

Many of our workshop participants have told us that they have been applying the skills learned with us to their personal lives and have been delighted with the positive impact it has had on their relationships with friends and family. Our personal lives provide yet another opportunity to practice good communication skills so that they become an embedded pathway response when we are presented with a challenging dynamic at work.

We can develop habitual, defensive ways of relating to partners and family members. If instead we stop and take a breath when that irritating uncle lobs a divisive bomb over the plumb pudding, we just may be able to change the atmosphere in the room. Instead of jumping in, judging, and pushing back, try and find out some more about their perspective. Ask lots of questions about why they see things that way.

Try being genuinely curious and listening. Suppress the urge to jump in and talk about your own experiences and viewpoint. People like to feel heard. Listening is respect. By taking this approach you have a greater chance of building some trust and providing space for annoying Uncle Jack to access new learnings about his fixed opinions. On the flip side, you too may find you can see the situation with greater clarity and calmness.

The skills learned at our workshops may not be needed at work the very next day and it can be easy to slip back into old habits. Practise is so important because it helps us to become more confident. Look for opportunities to rehearse your new skills every day, whether it be with your partner, the person who makes your takeaway coffee in the morning, or at this

year’s Christmas gathering. This is how you can create new response pathways which are the basis for a new habit.

We would love to hear if applying some of our Confident Conversations workshop skills makes a difference to your festive season. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Christopher and Judy