Imagine the colleague with whom you have a very challenging relationship, the person who makes the most innocuous conversation tense and uncomfortable.

Now imagine the following scenario: You’re sitting at your desk working away when a message from that person pops up on your screen. You open the message and it reads: “I got the draft presentation you sent. I caught a couple of mistakes, and I have some ideas for how to make it better. I’ll drop by your office at 3 PM to discuss.”

How does that email make you feel: angry, defensive, or anxious? Are you suddenly looking for an excuse to be out of the office at 3 PM? All of those are very common reactions.

Now, wipe that person out of your mind. Instead, conjure up the colleague with whom you get along really well, the person who always has your back. This is the person you go to when you want to calibrate on an important issue. Once you have that person in mind, imagine this scenario: You’re sitting at your desk working away when a message from the person pops up on your screen. You open the message and it reads: “I got the draft presentation you sent. I caught a couple of mistakes, and I have some ideas for how to make it better. I’ll drop by your office at 3 PM to discuss.”

Now how do you feel: Relieved? Grateful? That’s how profoundly your assumptions and prejudices affect your perceptions. What’s worse is that if you consider how differently the meeting at 3 PM will go, the exact same message from two different people leads to radically different outcomes.

Liane Davey describes how being aware of the assumptions you’re making gives you an opportunity to reverse the ill effects of your prejudices. Find out more on how the best antidote to this destructive dynamic is mindfulness in this blog.

https://hbr.org/2015/12/a-mental-trick-to-help-with-challenging-conversations

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