How to avoid an undesired conversation

How to avoid an undesired conversation

Letting an employee go or giving them a negative review is never easy. In fact, negative conversations are difficult for virtually everyone, but they are especially difficult if you are a new business owner or haven’t had this type of conversation before. In fact, even if you are more experienced and think you are wonderful at these types of conversations, you may not be. One study indicated that about one-third of managers think that they handle workplace conflict well, but only 22% of their employees agreed with them.

These conversations don’t have to be a bad thing, and if handled correctly, they should lead to increased performance. According to one study , 81% of employees saw positive outcomes that originated with workplace conflict. Employees will often be unable to tell that their behavior or performance is unacceptable until you actually sit down and talk them through it. These conversations are a necessary chore, but following a few key suggestions can make them much easier.

  1. Approach the conversation with a positive outlook.

Do not think of the conversation as being a “difficult” one. Framing the conversation differently in your mind can significantly help the situation. When you think you must have a difficult conversation, you may become nervous or tense. You may even put it off or avoid it all together. (In case you’re one of those guys who liked to break up with your ex-girlfriends over text message, here’s an important tip: do not give performance reviews via e-mail–face-to-face discussions are much more productive.)

If you must give a negative review, for example, think of it as a constructive conversation about how the employee can improve. Do not put it off any more than you have to. Addressing the problem immediately not only dampens the possibility of future problems, it also shows other employees that certain behaviors or poor performance is unacceptable.

When dealing with difficult conversations, one of the most important aspects is to keep your emotions in check. If you become emotional, your employee may become emotional. Once emotions are in play, the possibility of a productive conversation could go completely out the window. Be sure that you wait to have a conversation until you have had time to think about the implications; reacting based on emotions alone will usually be negative in the long run.

  1. Be prepared–mentally and with empirical proof.

Planning is important in difficult conversations. Make a list of all of the things that you want to discuss and be sure to hit all of them. Know the objective of this conversation beforehand. Simply reprimanding the employee may not be an effective use of your time. Instead, include a discussion about what needs to happen so that the behavior does not recur or so performance can improve. Do not leave the conversation without putting some action items for improvement in place.

Keep in mind that some employees may become defensive when their behavior or performance is mentioned. They may deny behavior or performance problems exist at all. This type of reaction is not productive, so have empirical evidence to show to the employee in case it becomes necessary. Show them their sales numbers or customer complaints, for example, or state specifically when an undesired behavior occurred.

If the employee starts comparing themselves to other employees, steer the conversation back to them. (“We are not talking about Jane today. We are talking about you.”) Of course, consistency is important, so you may need to be sure that your employee’s accusations are just a defense mechanism and not based on something more factual that you may have overlooked.

If the situation is exceptionally difficult for you, you may also want to rehearse the conversation ahead of time or make notes to keep you on track. There’s nothing worse than leaving something out of a negative performance review and then having to go back and have a second conversation with the same employee about something you forgot. This is demoralizing for the employee and embarrassing for you.

  1. Put yourself in their shoes.

If you go into the conversation attempting to find your employee’s perspective, that will not only make your employee feel heard, but you may also determine the underlying cause of a problem. Ask questions and really listen to your employee’s response. Why are they behaving a certain way? Is there anything that you can do to make it easier to achieve their performance goals? What do they think is preventing them from meeting their performance goals? At the same time, you should keep in mind that your employee cares more about how this conversation affects them than how difficult it is for you, so do not be the victim in the conversation. (For example, “I really hate to do this. ” or “This is really hard for me to say because. “).

Difficult conversations are just that–difficult, but they are a necessary part of running your own business. Have these conversations the right way, and you can turn them into positive growth instead of negative experiences.

Crosstalk is a quite common undesired phenomenon that annoy most of people during their conversation on the phone. In the past years, several technical developments have contributed to reduce the crosstalk incidence on voice circuit, however, the real and definitive control on it is a proper cable design, quality and manufacturing.

Crosstalk occurs when one voice circuit picks up the signal from another circuit making the conversation jumping from wire pair to the other. A different twisted rate reduces the possibility of crosstalk issue.

The signal transmitted in the cable is in the form of current and it produces an interference electromagnetic field that can cause noise in the near cables. So, the twist operation plays a pivotal role in order to remove the electromagnetic interference from wires.

The wires twisted with and along each other carry equal and opposite amount of current through them. Therefore, the interference produced by one wire is cancelled by the interference produced by other wire since they are equal and opposite in nature. Since during this operation each twisted pair color combination is assigned a unique twist gear.

Thus, the design and manufacturing of the cables are fundamental in order to produce high quality cables without interference while in action. In doing so, twisting machine must ensures:

  • constant lay-length
  • minimize wire stretching to avoid the alternation of electrical feature of the wire
  • constant winding tension
  • avoid the scratching of the wire insulation and the correct winding around twisted cables of the shielded tapes.

In order to increase the performance and efficiency of the process, it is possible to build within the cradle a spark tester to check the product quality and take appropriate action.

Important is also the payoff system, which must ensure the correct cable tension at the input of the twisting machine. It is therefore necessary to have a motorized payoff with synchronized dancer and tension control system.

Crosstalk is a quite common undesired phenomenon that annoy most of people during their conversation on the phone. In the past years, several technical developments have contributed to reduce the crosstalk incidence on voice circuit, however, the real and definitive control on it is a proper cable design, quality and manufacturing.

Crosstalk occurs when one voice circuit picks up the signal from another circuit making the conversation jumping from wire pair to the other. A different twisted rate reduces the possibility of crosstalk issue.

The signal transmitted in the cable is in the form of current and it produces an interference electromagnetic field that can cause noise in the near cables. So, the twist operation plays a pivotal role in order to remove the electromagnetic interference from wires.

The wires twisted with and along each other carry equal and opposite amount of current through them. Therefore, the interference produced by one wire is cancelled by the interference produced by other wire since they are equal and opposite in nature. Since during this operation each twisted pair color combination is assigned a unique twist gear.

Thus, the design and manufacturing of the cables are fundamental in order to produce high quality cables without interference while in action. In doing so, twisting machine must ensures:

  • constant lay-length
  • minimize wire stretching to avoid the alternation of electrical feature of the wire
  • constant winding tension
  • avoid the scratching of the wire insulation and the correct winding around twisted cables of the shielded tapes.

In order to increase the performance and efficiency of the process, it is possible to build within the cradle a spark tester to check the product quality and take appropriate action.

Important is also the payoff system, which must ensure the correct cable tension at the input of the twisting machine. It is therefore necessary to have a motorized payoff with synchronized dancer and tension control system.

How to avoid an undesired conversation

Being in an argument or receiving criticism from another person truly sucks. But instead of going straight into attack mode, there are ways to help you stop being defensive while learning how to communicate well with others. I’ll be honest: About four years ago, I had no idea how to communicate without being defensive. Ever since I was younger, I always felt like I had to prove myself to everyone because I felt I was different. When I would be the butt of all jokes, instead of standing up for myself, I would point the finger at others or simply cry because I was completely frustrated.

After studying interpersonal and organizational communication in college, I began to understand what being defensive meant and how to tackle conflict in a healthy way. According to Psychology Today, Anna Freud, Sigmund Freud’s daughter, helped illustrate that there are nine common defense mechanisms that everyone goes through in her book, The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably gone through most of these categories throughout your lifetime.

When it comes to using defense mechanisms, it tends to coincide with protecting ones self. But it’s also in conjunction with how well you can communicate; once I learned how to productively talk about issues and disagreements with others (and I’m still learning to this day), I had the ability to truly express myself and what I was feeling. I learned that listening was just as important as speaking and jumping to conclusions was not going to solve anything. After a bit of time, the walls of defense started to go down, and I realized how quickly an argument can be solved once you allow yourself to be vulnerable and be OK with the thought of being wrong. Below are a few ways to communicate well without being defensive. This can take some time to adjust to, but once you learn how to stop putting your guard up, you can learn how to feel comfortable having with others without completely breaking down.

1. Be Secure In Who You Are

You’re less likely to get defensive or hurt over something when you know for sure that it’s not true. Being secure in yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself because you won’t need to be validated by anyone else besides yourself. According to Psychology Today, Austrian psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut said that finding a healthy medium of narcissism is actually good for you. Being a self-confident person, or healthy adult narcissism as Kohut called it, allows you to be able to handle those harsh criticisms, broken promises, or miscommunications with others. This can resolve a lot of issues when someone criticizes you, because of instead of jumping to conclusions, you can talk to them calmly without feeling like you have to defend yourself every minute.

2. Stop Retaliating & Genuinely Listen

Being in an argument with someone doesn’t mean that you should be thinking about your next attack move while they are talking. You should try to genuinely listen to all of their points and see where they are coming from. When people get defensive, sometimes they automatically think that the other person is wrong. While that may be the case, there’s a way to explain your part without completely ignoring what they have to say. According to The Huffington Post, the next time you’re in an argument, take a moment to actually listen without strategizing your next thought process so you can defend yourself, because the less you try to protect your identity, the more better you may feel.

3. Use “I” Statements

Have a clear indication as to why you feel defensive. Once you can understand why you feel the way you do, the person you’re arguing with may be able to comprehend your emotions better. According to Psych Central, using I statements can allow you to keep the focus on your feelings and can prevent unfair accusations onto others. Instead of projecting your undesired feelings or thoughts onto another person, try to solidify what you need and how you want your emotions to come across.

4. Think Long-Term Instead Of Short-Term

When you’re getting defensive, start to contemplate on the end goal. Being impulsive with your emotions means you’re only thinking about how you feel at the moment. Strategize your thinking so you can accomplish long-term goals instead of trying to win the battle. According to Psychology Today, concentration camp survivor Victor Frankl had said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Before you make any quick judgments, take a deep breathe and try to pay close attention to the result of your actions. Will they benefit you in the long run? Can you come up with a better response? Being defensive doesn’t mean you have to be negative, there’s a way to have a positive outlook while still protecting your identity.

5. Learn How To Receive Criticism

During those moments when you receive harsh criticism, there’s a way to acknowledge it without being defensive. According to Forbes, remember the benefits of getting feedback even when you don’t want it. Take the time to listen to what they’re expressing to you, ask them why they are feeling this way, and strategize how you can use this to benefit you as a person or an employee. Even if you don’t believe what they say is true, you can still be the bigger person, thank them, and walk away. You don’t need to worry about what others think about you because you already know how you feel about yourself. While it can be a negative situation for a few moments, you can always turn it around into a positive by letting the negative feeling go.

6. It’s OK To Be Wrong

No one can be right 100 percent all the time, it’s just not possible. And even though you would love to be right, there are those moments when you may need to realize that the person just might be correct about what they are saying. According to Forbes, make sure you give yourself permission to be wrong, and also give that permission to others, too. By doing this, you’re accepting the fact that it’s OK to not get everything right on the first try, but also not to accept failure as the only defeat.

While defending yourself is never a bad thing, being defensive all the time can get exhausting. Instead of trying to save face when a tough situation arise, take a moment to find your space, acknowledge what they are saying, and try to benefit from it. There’s a reason why this person is feeling a certain way; the last thing you want to do is ignore what they are saying and push their feelings aside like it doesn’t matter. Be considerate, but straightforward, and in the end, hopefully you will feel like a winner instead of trying to defend yourself over and over again.

Images: Giphy ; skynesher/E+/Getty Images

Crosstalk is a quite common undesired phenomenon that annoy most of people during their conversation on the phone. In the past years, several technical developments have contributed to reduce the crosstalk incidence on voice circuit, however, the real and definitive control on it is a proper cable design, quality and manufacturing.

Crosstalk occurs when one voice circuit picks up the signal from another circuit making the conversation jumping from wire pair to the other. A different twisted rate reduces the possibility of crosstalk issue.

The signal transmitted in the cable is in the form of current and it produces an interference electromagnetic field that can cause noise in the near cables. So, the twist operation plays a pivotal role in order to remove the electromagnetic interference from wires.

The wires twisted with and along each other carry equal and opposite amount of current through them. Therefore, the interference produced by one wire is cancelled by the interference produced by other wire since they are equal and opposite in nature. Since during this operation each twisted pair color combination is assigned a unique twist gear.

Thus, the design and manufacturing of the cables are fundamental in order to produce high quality cables without interference while in action. In doing so, twisting machine must ensures:

  • constant lay-length
  • minimize wire stretching to avoid the alternation of electrical feature of the wire
  • constant winding tension
  • avoid the scratching of the wire insulation and the correct winding around twisted cables of the shielded tapes.

In order to increase the performance and efficiency of the process, it is possible to build within the cradle a spark tester to check the product quality and take appropriate action.

Important is also the payoff system, which must ensure the correct cable tension at the input of the twisting machine. It is therefore necessary to have a motorized payoff with synchronized dancer and tension control system.

This article was co-authored by Lynda Jean. Lynda Jean is an Image Consultant and the Owner of Lynda Jean Image Consulting. With over 15 years of experience, Lynda specializes in color and body/style analysis, wardrobe audits, personal shopping, social and professional etiquette, and personal and business branding. She works with clients to enhance their image, self-esteem, behavior, and communication to facilitate their social and career goals. Lynda holds Bachelor degrees in Sociology and Social Work, a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work, and a Certified Image Consultant (CIC) certification. She studied Image Consulting at the International Image Institute and the International Academy of Fashion and Technology in Toronto, Canada. Lynda has taught Image Consulting courses at George Brown College in Toronto, Canada. She is the co-author of the book, “Business Success With Ease,” where she shares her knowledge about, ‘The Power of Professional Etiquette.’

There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Even the best of friends can experience awkward moments. Maybe you’ve all gathered for a party at your house and suddenly no one has anything to say, or someone’s just said something pretty strange and no one knows how to respond. Whatever the case may be, there are many ways to respond to silence that can help alleviate any awkwardness (or at least make things a little less unbearable).

​When you react badly to an event, it is common to blame the event for your reaction e.g. your boss asks you to work overtime and you get angry. Your natural reaction may be to blame your boss for your anger. However, you may notice that other people, when asked to work overtime, do not always react angrily. In fact, some just accept and get on with it while others, if it is not convenient, inform their boss that they will not be able to work overtime.

For just about every possible event, you have your own beliefs, feelings or views. In the example above, you may feel that you cannot say ‘No’ to your boss. Alternatively, you may feel that your boss should not be asking you to work overtime as you work long enough hours. Can you see how either of these beliefs would cause you to react angrily when your boss asks you to work overtime?

Now imagine if rather than these beliefs, you believed that you had the right to say ‘No’ to your boss or; you just accepted that from to time you would have to work overtime. Can you see how these beliefs would lead to you feeling differently about the situation? As a result, you would be less likely to get angry.

Your beliefs about a situation are just one way that emotional triggers can influence your behaviour. Sometimes, emotional triggers can lead to positive behaviour; however, emotional triggers often lie behind some of our worst behaviour. If you are unaware of your emotional triggers, these negative behaviours can seem automatic and out of your control. Fortunately, as you become aware of your emotional triggers and start to monitor them, you realise that you have the opportunity to intervene in the space between the event and your response, thus creating a more desirable situation.

​Flash Guide to Passive Aggressive Behaviour

​Inability to control your emotional triggers can be one of the main causes of Passive Aggressive Behaviour. You can learn more with my Free Flash Guide to Passive Aggressive Behaviour.

Taking control of your emotional triggers

​You can implement the following steps to help you take control of your emotional triggers by increasing your awareness and developing new ways of responding. These steps are divided in to 2 phases – understanding your emotional triggers and, managing your emotional triggers.

How to avoid an undesired conversation

No disrespect to the wonderful study of meteorology, but I don’t usually care to talk about the weather. And chances are, neither does the stranger/acquaintance you’re trying to have a conversation with. But as it goes, making small talk with strangers, or just anyone you don’t really know too well for that matter, seems to be an inevitable thing that works its way into the awkward moments of our lives.

There you are, standing with this individual you may have just met — maybe you’re waiting for your mutual friend to come back from the bathroom, or trying to gracefully fill awkward silences at a dinner party, or you may both be conveniently hitting up the coffee machine at work. Time seems to go way slower than usual and you don’t know where the heck your personality ran off to. After you’ve used up the “how are you” or “so what do you do” questions, and given your own generic answers, the conversation comes to a painful lull.

Type “small talk” into your search bar and one of the first definitions that comes up is something along the lines of: polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially as engaged in on social occasions, according to the Oxford Dictionary. Well, that sounds like a pretty awful waste of time if you ask me. And yeah, sometimes it’s all you can do to dissipate the awkwardness, but it doesn’t have to be so meaningless. That’s not to say that you have to delve into an existential take on the meaning of life or anything, but there are definitely some nice ways you can avoid that small talk and walk away from that conversation feeling a little more fulfilled.

1. Don’t Be Afraid Of Details

If they’re asking you how your weekend was, the quickest way to turn small talk into a real conversation is to go beyond the boring, “it was good.” Why was it good? What did you do? So maybe you didn’t run a marathon or get your hotline bling on with backstage passes to Drake’s show. A Netflix night in or even hours of staring at your blank Microsoft Word document can make for just as good conversation. Definitely better than those automated generic answers.

Sharing that extra detail about your life helps make any conversation less awkward and boring, according to Lifehacker’s guide to tackling small talk. Any amount of detail you add (without over-sharing, obviously) will just give the whole interaction a more personalized, human element that strays from the sins of empty small talk.

2. Ask Relevant Questions

So maybe you just asked them how their weekend was and they broke the rules and gave you the bland “it was good” answer. Tsk tsk. They obviously didn’t read this article. So take hold of that and ask them what they did. And when you do, actually listen to what they say and try to find something more you can either ask about or to which you can relate. Otherwise, you run the risk of giving this convo the shelf life of about a minute and thirty seconds.

You’ll show them you’re actually interested in what they have to say, and it’ll probably lead to some way more engaging back-and-forth. One of the keys to being a good conversationalist isn’t just about what you say, but rather, demonstrating interest in other people and asking them those questions. Because as pointed out on Lifehack, most people prefer to talk about themselves rather than hear about you. And who knows? Maybe you’ve just found your ultimate biking buddy for those weekend rides.

3. Arm Yourself With Interesting Conversation Topics

Like any well-seasoned military general, when navigating the field of social graces and witty banter, you must go in prepared so as not to be struck down by the awkward lull of a conversation. Get caught up on the news, dig into some pop culture, or maybe bring up a cool food you recently tried. As Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D, professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst told Psychology Today, the topics don’t have to be weighty nor do they have to involve in-depth expertise.

When speaking with people we don’t know very well, we sometimes tend to avoid bringing up anything beyond surface-level topics because we don’t yet know how the other person thinks and we worry about how they’ll perceive us. But it’s time to toss that petty nonsense aside and let yourself have a real conversation.

4. Don’t Treat Them Like A Stranger

You may not really know the first thing about them beyond the context in which you’ve met them, but don’t let any fear of judgment due to a lack of familiarity stiffen up your conversation. Of course, you should remain polite if that’s how you feel most comfortable, but the second you start thinking of this person as someone you’re friendly with, it’ll become easier to get a little more comfortable with being more open.

Opt for some playful humor or really any friendly gesture that isn’t completely calculated and fake. I’m sure we can all pick up on when it seems like someone is only talking to us out of mere obligation or a means to fill the silence. Even if that may be the case, because I mean it’s not like we have to be besties with absolutely everyone we interact with, at least try to make it more enjoyable and engaging for the both of you. Try to avoid the empty interactions whenever you can.

5. Don’t Try To Escape Too Soon

Give it a chance! A lot of the times, when we’re with someone we don’t know very well, we tend to want to wrap up the conversation to avoid the risk of running out of things to say, or maybe because we can already predict how the conversation is going to go, as dating and confidence consultant Nick Notas pointed out on his blog. So we play our etiquette cards, flimsily through them into the interaction, and discard any chance for a meaningful exchange or any substance to develop. Notas also provided some great tips on how to really give the convo some momentum if you’re feeling stuck early on.

6. But Then Again If All Else Fails, Just Bail

Let’s face it, some convos are just lost causes and as hard as you may have tried, there’s just not too much you can do to salvage it or make much more out of it. Sometimes it really is better to just make a clean and graceful exit when the conversation has run its unfortunate course. Debra Fine, lecturer and author of The Fine Art of Small Talk, suggested to Real Simple to use the phrase “I need,” such as needing to get food, use the restroom, or meet someone. And that’s it! You’re done. Phew. You can breathe now.

Sometimes you just can’t avoid small talk, but if you can. then why not try some alternatives, right?

How to avoid an undesired conversation

A narcissist is a person who shows a disproportionate interest in themselves. They have a strong desire to be admired by others, strive for attention, and have difficulty enduring criticism or setbacks. Narcissists tend to be grandiose, suspicious, and cynical. They are commonly conceited, scheming, and controlling of others. Being related to, working for, or being in a relationship with a narcissist is an extremely challenging predicament. Terminating contact, distancing, and getting out of a relationship with a narcissist is always ideal, but is not always a practical option. When contact with a narcissist cannot be terminated, the grey rock method can be a valid alternative to manage relations.

How to avoid an undesired conversation

The grey rock method is a practice where an individual becomes emotionally non-responsive, boring, and virtually acts like a rock. Emotional detachment serves to undermine a narcissist’s attempts to lure and manipulate, causing them to grow uninterested and bored. The grey rock method takes away what the narcissist needs and desires most–attention.

In order to implement the grey rock method, a person needs to minimize conversations and verbal exchanges as much as they can. While interactions should always be avoided when possible, it is important to refrain from ignoring a narcissist. Instead, an individual should reply with minimal and short responses to limit further conversation. Conversations should center on monotonous or boring topics and a person should attempt to provide one word answers without elaboration or opinion. If a narcissist attempts to bait, a person can utilize nonverbal responses such as nodding and smiling to avoid further engagement.

How Do I Use the Grey Rock Method?

Disengage

The first rule is to disengage yourself. You gain the upper hand by recognizing that when someone says hurtful or inflammatory things about you—it’s to control you and get a reaction. When using the grey rock method, rather than become defensive, you would simply become nonreactive. Keep your face neutral, your tone bland, and your responses vague. By avoiding eye contact and giving noncommittal responses like “meh” or “mm-hmm,” you become an incredibly boring target. No matter what you actually feel, stay focused on preserving your peace and disengaging from damaging interactions.

Stay distracted

Another helpful technique when using the grey rock method is to remain distracted. You can try carrying a book, using your phone, or simply keeping your mind focused on your favorite person or pet. This not only helps create some emotional distance, but can also make it easier to weather the storm if the person escalates their attempts to engage you by saying cruel or hurtful things. It can be difficult not to defend yourself when you feel attacked, but ultimately, you’ll minimize the damage by not engaging. Emotional detachment serves to undermine a narcissist’s attempts to lure and manipulate, causing them to grow uninterested and bored.

Keep it brief

Whenever you can, keep your interactions brief and limited. This means that you shouldn’t share too much about your life, and your responses should be short. You are protecting yourself by avoiding unhealthy behaviors. Use one-word answers and focus on boring mundane topics. Avoid revealing anything good or bad about your life. You should also avoid asking the other person about their life. In general, keep your opinions on matters to a minimum, use brief and nonverbal responses, be aloof and unengaged.

Don’t tell them what you’re doing

Never reveal to the person that you are using the grey rock method. The goal of grey rocking is to become an undesired target to the other person. If they know that you’re attempting to make yourself seem boring on purpose, they can use this information to further manipulate and control you.

A narcissist needs to surround themselves with individuals who fascinate them and who keep them entertained at all times. A narcissist needs to have complete control over others and will use manipulative tendencies to get what they want. They require those in their lives to shower them with attention, reverence, and admiration. The grey rock method is a technique that removes the fascination and entertainment from a narcissist’s life.

Risks of the grey rock method

When done well, grey rocking will create distance between you and the other person. This may be a painful experience. Furthermore, grey rocking requires you to suppress your needs for love, validation, and attention. Make sure you continue to have healthy outlets in your other relationships to fulfill these needs for you. You can always talk to a counselor about dealing with difficult relationships when grey rocking is not an ideal solution.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with relationships characterized by manipulation, gaslighting, and drama can leave you feeling emotionally drained. Using the grey rock method deprives emotionally abusive people of the drama they crave and alleviates you from unhealthy engagements. Cutting off toxic relationships is always ideal but using the grey rock method can preserve you from emotional harm when interactions are necessary.