The role emotion plays in workplace conversations

They say that it takes two to tango and when it’s come to a conversation, it’s clear that it’s a phrase that fits the description perfectly.

Conversations are a two way street and at different times the roles will change between the listener and the talker. However, no matter the position of each person at any particular moment, there’s one part of the conversation that should always be taken into consideration and that’s the emotion.


The Importance of Emotion in a Conversation

While there are telltale signs of a person’s emotional state during any part of a conversation, it can’t be understated just how important being able to be aware of your emotional wellbeing and the other persons within a conversation is. The emotion of one or both of the people in a conversation can have a wildly different impact on how the discussion develops.


Your emotional impact

Sometimes it’s not the other person in the conversation we need to be aware of but ourselves. While some people are emotionally intelligent and can understand their feelings in the moment, it can be difficult to process, especially during a stressful period.

There’s nothing wrong with recognising that you’re not in the right frame of mind to hold a conversation with someone, especially if it’s an important one. Understanding that you’re flustered, stressed or in an emotional state that’s not fit for a two-way conversation is a positive not just for you but also for the other person. So if you do feel in any way below par when it comes to your emotion, perhaps suggest postponing the conversation, especially if it’s a difficult conversation.


Understanding their emotion

Several ways can help you subtly understand the emotional frame of mind the other person in the conversation is in. The most important one is their tone and body language, the latter of which you can even pick signs up on before they even speak.

One trick to allow the other person to cope or even understand their emotional state is to simply pause and let them talk. Often a period of silence or one-sided communication can act as a moment of reflection for the other party, giving them a moment to explore how their emotional state is impacting the conversation, whether that realisation is positive or negative.


What should you do with emotion?

If you feel that either yourself or the other person is in an emotional state that will make the conversation difficult to have then there’s no harm in postponing it. However, it’s important to make sure that you don’t go down the road of blaming or accusing the other person as it can only make things worse in the long-run. 


How to have better conversations

For more information on how to better understand the impact emotion has on a conversation, why not sign up for our Better Conversations course?

You’ll find out how to stop conflict in communication, learn the secret to tough conversation and understand what the key is to be a great listener.

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