7 Things To Do Before You Have A Tough Conversation

Tough conversations can often get me riled up or feeling nervous even before I have the conversation. My heart rate increases, my jaw tends to tighten, and my legs become fidgety … like I want to get out of the conversation before I’m even having it. Whether I am about to head into a tough conversation with my team mate at work or partner at home, I know that this is not the state I want to be in when having the conversation.

So before I give that feedback, terminate that employee, or sit down at the dinner table, I gotta cool down and get my head back in the game. Here are my favourite 7 ways to restore myself:

When you have a few hours…

1. Go for a long run

And if running isn’t your thing, try a high-intensity workout like a circuit or boxing class. Either way, get your endorphins flowing, your heart rate elevated, and your mind focused on something else other than the conversation you’ll be having later that day.

2. Be social

Go for lunch with some close friends. Call one of your favourite people. Use it as a chance to laugh, relax, and remember that the conversation you’re going to have isn’t the end of the world.

3. Clean your apartment

Really. Decluttering your home helps to declutter your thoughts — a clear space creates a clear mind.

When you only have a few minutes…

4. Get out of your head

Talk it out with someone you trust — your parent, sibling, boss, or best friend. Talking to the little voice inside your head alone won’t help you gain perspective, especially since you’re just talking to yourself. Voicing what your feeling to another person will help give some clarity.

5. Write down what you want to say

Take out a notepad and write out what actually happened, how you feel, and what intended result you want to move toward. Give yourself the gift of clarity before having the conversation in real life.

6. Do a breathing exercise

The power of taking a few minutes to just sit and breathe can make all the difference. Try closing your eyes and doing square breathing — it’s simple and quick and will help you refocus your attention.

7. Physically ‘shake it off’

This is my favourite! Stand up and move your whole body or do some stretches. The act of ‘shaking it off’ gives you the feeling that you’re literally shaking off and letting go of any stress or anxiety you’re feeling.

Is there anything you do that didn’t make our list? Share them in the responses below!

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If you found these tips helpful, we started our Manager Start Line training program to help people managers take the next step in their leadership, so check it out!

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Matt is the man everyone wants to lead their team. He is one half of the bro-sis combo that makes up the Corker Company and co-creator of the Manager Start Line, an online training program for high-performance managers.

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