It is a skill to be able to have a conversation with someone and have them feel comfortable enough to share their truth with you. Many times people hide the truth because they are embarrassed, they are afraid of rejection, they are afraid of judgement, or they are hiding shame. Having honest conversations is bonding and makes for a stronger connection.
To get the truth from those you love:
#1: Don’t Ask Why Questions
Why questions come out of our mouths and off our lips so easily don’t they. “Why are you home late?” “Why didn’t you call?” Sound familiar? I’ve had arguments over these very questions (this is the reason I am sharing this life lesson with you).
Why questions bring up defensiveness. The person being asked “why” can feel like they need to explain and come up with reasons for their actions. Therefore, the shades of truth may not be as pure as it could be. They want to tell you something that you will accept and be comfortable with. It comes down to -does the person telling you his/her truth trust you with the truth. Remember that famous line from A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth”?
Replace “Why” Questions with Questions Starting with:
- how did you come to decide that
- what does that look like
- I want to understand you… tell me about
Asking questions starting with anything but “why” will soften the approach and provide a better foundation for an honest conversation.
#2: Exchange Judgement for Curiosity
Everyone has done things they are not proud of. Many times our actions could have been done in a better way yet, no one likes to be judged. It is because of this concept that I exchanged judgement for curiosity. Become curious on how others come to do what they do. When you extend curiosity and come beside people for understanding, the truth has an opportunity to come out. One of my favorite moments is when clients or family shares their truth with me. I believe it is a compliment and then we can move forward and discuss what comes up.
#3: Start with the End in Mind
In the business world it is called reverse engineering. What is the goal to be accomplished by the end of the conversation?
My Goal for my Conversations with People is that they:
- feel heard
- feel accepted
- feel trust
- feel no judgement
- feel understood
- feel support for stepping into their authenticity and purpose
- feel loved
Sharing the truth connects us to each other in meaningful ways. Having a loving compassionate person who you can have honest conversations with is a gift. The next time you want the truth remember to avoid “why” questions, exchange judgement for curiosity, and plan how you would like to show up for someone else so that you create a loving outcome for the conversation
Inspirational Speaker and Relationship Coach