QUICK TIP: Empowering Conversations

Have you ever met someone who continually interrupts you and tells you what you should do?

Do you wish they would just shut-up and listen?

Do you have a friend, boss, colleague, family member, acquaintance like this?

If you answered yes to the three questions above, you may find the following challenge empowers you to take control of the situation.

The challenge

To have a conversation with the person without them interrupting and advising.

To feel heard.

To feel empowered.

Example:  You set down the rules of how the conversation will go prior to the conversation. You tell them not to interrupt or advise (these are your rules of the conversation).  This lets the person know, you are the speaker therefore, it is your turn to talk and their turn to listen.  They can ask questions at the end, if they need (a bit like listening at a conference).

Step 1   Rehearsal

Yes, that’s right!  Rehearse!  Rehearse!  Rehearse!

Rehearse your rules for the conversation (e.g. not interrupting or advising).  How will you deliver this message?  If they are the type of person to interrupt and advise they may begin to interrupt during you setting down the rules.  You need to make this concise.

Plan what you will say, the words you will use.   Plan an appropriate place and time for this conversation to take place.  Are you likely to be interrupted by other people, telephones etc?

Planning and rehearsing your delivery of the rules, provides you an opportunity to reflect on how the message is received.  You may even try rehearsing your lines with a friend or, family member.

Step 2   The rules

SHOWTIME!   Talk to the person about a conversation you want to have with them.  Begin by delivering your rules.  These are the rules you have rehearsed and are confident to lay down.  You may wish to say something like:

… ‘I need to talk to you about something but, I don’t want you to interrupt me’


I am not asking for your advice, I just want you to listen’.


DONE!  Quick, concise and delivered!

Step 3 The conversation

OK.  Well done!  You have delivered the rules.  You have their full attention.  Now, have the sticky conversation, you want them to listen to.  Don’t wait too long.  A quick pause, for effect, and get straight into the conversation.

You have their full attention now so, don’t hold back.  You have the power.  Keep going.  This is particularly useful for those really sticky, awkward conversations.  Sometimes, you just need to set the rules.  This is exactly what you have done.  You have taken control.

After the conversation, let them know, you have finished.  You may like to end with,  … ‘thanks for listening’…or, … ‘any questions’? 

Take some time over the next few minutes, hours, days to reflect on this.  What was their response?  How did it make you feel? 

You may wish to adapt this to other situations.  Where else could you use this new assertiveness tool to empower you?

Relax and enjoy your new strength.  It is easy for you to replicate.  And, easy for you to adapt to other situations.  You now have a wonderful and fantastic resource and can approach any further situations with a feeling of calm.

This is empowerment!

 Share your own experiences in the comments section below.


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