Have you ever held a conversation in your mind where you reviewed something from all angles, for example, asking your boss for a raise? As you picture the meeting, you feel your heart racing, you start to sweat, you think about every rebuttal possible so that you’ll be ready with strong examples as to why you are deserving.
How about playing and re-playing having that difficult conversation you’ve been postponing in your head? “If she says that, I’ll say this!” reviewing all possible angles in hopes that the conversation will be less stressful.
What you’ve been doing and physiologically experiencing is called Jouska.
Simply put, Jouska is an emotion in which you have a hypothetical conversation that you’ve play out over and over and over again in your mind. Using Jouska can be a useful method to get prepared for difficult conversations.
We all enter into conversations with our own opinions, feelings, theories, and experiences. When we enter into conversations we need to remember that our opinions differ from others. You believe one thing and they another. You have one history and they another. Often times when the stakes are high and emotions are strong we are often not our best selves.
A quick, easy, and free way of finding out your default mode in stressful conversations, is to take this online test and self-scoring guide version of the Style Under Stress test.
The test will give you insight to your default communication style during difficult conversations. The site will also help you create a road map of “what to do’s and how to do’s” so you can improve your ability to communicate effectively with others and to have more win-win outcomes from your conversations.
So, what else can improve our communication with others?First, you need to turn your focus, thoughts, and skewed logic about others and instead turn it towards yourself. Ask yourself: What part am I playing within a heightened situation? Am I being realistic or making assumptions? Do I have all of the facts? How much of what I’m feeling is based off of previous history?Second, you need to stop believing that others are the single source of your problems. It takes two to tango and we often don’t consider what part we’ve played; we don’t take ownership for our own actions and behaviors in conversations as well as how they affect our relationships.Third, don’t slip into fight of flight mode by slipping into silence or violence mode. When I say silence, I’m saying don’t withdraw from the conversation, avoid the hard/sticky topics, or mask your intentions during the conversation. Violence mode is defined as controlling, labeling, or attacking. Slipping into these modes causes your brain to be flooded with emotions – loosing your ability to stay focused on what’s important.
After you’ve set the stage with the above three steps, ask yourself these four simple questions to provide clarity on what you want and need out of the conversation:
- What do I really want for myself?
- What do I really want for the other person?
- What do I really want for the relationship?
- How would I behave if I really wanted these results?
Knowing how you communicate during times of stress, what you can do to make some necessary shifts to improve your communication in conflict, and incorporating these steps and questions will ultimately improve your satisfaction with your own contribution and within your relationships.