December 12, 2022

Ostriches don’t have difficult conversations

Ostrich head and part neck in front of blue sky. Ostrich looks like it's smiling.

There are times when you know that you should talk with someone, but don’t. One reason is wilful blindness, which is what the ostrich is famed for. The ostrich doesn’t want to see the elephant in the room either.

Probably the main reason we avoid those difficult conversations is that we imagine them turning out badly. So instead, imagine them turning out well.

To do this, mentally rehearse the conversation through many possible variations and responses, and what you would do to bring it back on track. Then practice with a friend who will probably see other angles that you haven’t.

One of the most difficult things is how to start. You could try… “I’d like to talk about __________ with you, but first I’d like to get your point of view.”

Actually, ostriches run away when threatened and don’t bury their heads in the sand. It’s a myth – sorry about that.

My best wishes, Paul

Paul Matthews

CEO and Founder of People Alchemy

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