Say What you Mean and Say It Well

Susan Leigh
Susan Leigh Author of “Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain.”

Sometimes it can be tempting to second-guess how others and especially our partner will react to a given situation.

This mindset can escalate if we have begun to feel uneasy about saying how we’re feeling or become apprehensive at voicing our requests. We may have hesitations or concerns as to how we will be treated if we do.

This attitude can put us at a disadvantage before we even open our mouths and cause unwarranted tension and stress in our relationship.

If we anticipate problems, setbacks and disapproval before anything has even been said, then we risk creating a false impression of the other person in our minds that can gradually translate into a hostile environment.

So, let’s look at those times when you’ve got something to say and find ways to say it well:

 Avoid prejudging the other person’s responses and reactions as it can affect how we communicate with them.

We influence our attitude, vocabulary, tone of voice, body language when we’re feeling either positive or negative. It’s doing the other person a disservice if we assume how they are going to think, feel, or reply to us, especially if we’re anticipating that they’re going to be critical, negative or judgemental in tone.

Ask for what you want, but phrase it positively.

Saying ‘I don’t suppose’ or ‘there’s no point in me asking’, ‘you won’t like this, but’ is setting the scene for failure.

Many of my clients are incredulous when I repeat back to them phrases and expressions that they have used. They don’t appreciate the way that they communicate, how they come across to others, what it reveals about their thinking. When we regularly think in either a positive or a negative way it becomes a habit; if we automatically expect to fail or be rejected then that becomes the scene.

Seed in advance for success and a positive outcome.

This simply means dropping little hints into the conversation before the main request is made. Subtlety is the key. So referring to something that you want to receive/achieve/expect to happen or be allowed to do in a positive way sews the seed and prepares the way in advance so that the other person is primed.

Present yourself in a positive way.

This includes words, body language, tone of voice. By nodding, smiling, reinforcing all the positive benefits you boost your message.

Pause when you speak, let your words take effect, don’t rush as that can signal panic, urgency or a lack of confidence and belief in what you are saying. Speaking slower indicates that you are feeling calm, in control, happy to take your time because you’re feeling positive.

Be aware of any potential areas of controversy or concern and be prepared to acknowledge the other person’s point of view.

Anticipate any points that may be subject to question or debate and have positive answers readily thought through. Be respectful of differences of opinion, give them due consideration before you give your reply. By doing this you demonstrate good manners and show an appreciation of the other person’s concerns.

Be prepared to give ground on the things that are unimportant to you.

Every good negotiation includes areas of compromise. If, for example, a young person wanted to go to a party they could compromise by agreeing to be dropped off or picked up at a certain time. This could mean that they get a lift there or back, are allowed to go to the party and their parents feel relieved that they know where their child is and that they are travelling safely.

Letting the other person claim credit for good ideas can sometimes be a useful negotiation tactic.

Steering a discussion around to your point of view, interspersing clever ideas, hints or clues can sometimes result in them being adopted and suggested by the other person as if they’d thought of them. You get what you want and they feel good about their inspired suggestion. Win/win all round by being generous.

Being clear about your wishes and projecting yourself in a positive way demonstrates confidence in yourself and what you feel. When you take responsibility for your own happiness and feel good about your decisions everyone around you benefits.

By being calm and assertive we overcome objections, sometimes in advance of them being raised. We clarify our thoughts, overcome negative thinking and present ourselves as valuable, deserving and positive.

About Susan Leigh

Susan Leigh is the author “Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain.”

She is also a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, with couples experiencing relationship difficulties to improve communications and understanding and with business clients to support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams.

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