We all struggle at times to make our point, and to get our opinions and preferences across to others. This leaves us feeling frustrated and disappointed, and the muddles we get into can damage our relationships.

Here are some simple ways you can help to make more of an impact and greatly reduce the likelihood of someone challenging what you have to say, or of things getting in a muddle.

When you’re feeling calm, less emotional and you have more clarity about what you want to say then you’ll feel much more competent about stating and sharing your point of view.

Keep your preferred end result in mind as you take the following steps:-

First focus upon S.H.I.T.W. (pardon the acronym!)

See — comment on what you observe and notice. Maybe someone yawning, frowning, looking away, or rolling their eyes, as they speak to you. You are commenting upon their ‘non-verbal’ language which you have seen.

Hear — similarly, you mention what you’ve heard from them — such as their tutting, sighing, meandering or mumbled speech.

Imagine — this is the powerful part.. say what you’re imagining this all means. What is your imagination making of what you have seen and heard from them? They might deny their verbal and non-verbal language — but they can’t deny what you’ve imagined about it!

Think — again this is your own personal perspective of what you have experienced from your interaction with them. This is the part when, for instance, you say… I saw ….. and I heard….. and from that I imagine…. and this is what I’m now thinking about all that.’

Share your thoughts in a concise way…(e.g. ‘I think that means you are bored or dismissive of what I’ve been saying in my presentation’…or, ‘I’m thinking that you aren’t committed to working on this relationship’….or, ‘You’re distracted and not really taking in what I’m saying’ etc.)

Want — this is also an assertive stage of this process. It’s the ‘what I want and prefer to happen instead.’ (e.g. I want to clarify…. I want to check out with you if you understood my point…I would prefer us to talk about this in the morning when we aren’t so tired etc.)

There’s also another similar 5-step process that you can use as a template when you want to get clarity about the way someone’s behaviour is affecting you.

1. I feel….

2. When you….

3. This reminds me of….

4. I’d like now to ….

5. I hope that…

No one can deny your personal perspective — they may not agree with it, and they might feel uncomfortable about you revealing an aspect of their behaviour which they were either not aware of or would rather it remained un-mentioned.

This template and process gives you the power to state ‘this is what I am picking up, this is what I’m doing with it, and I want to check something out with you, and this is what I want or prefer to have happen now’.

It’s important to realise, and separate out, what part of any interaction is your own ‘stuff’ from the past, and what is really from the present time and this moment.

If either of you is overlaying the present conversation and scenario with something from the past and reacting and behaving as if it were true in the present time — then this needs to be brought into awareness and challenged.

For instance… ‘If I understand you properly you are saying…. I don’t experience it in the same way and I’m wondering if this present situation links to something else for you that you have brought into this moment.’

That last challenge is tricky and should never be used to patronise anyone or to gain the psychological upper hand. When used with respect and empathy it can help to untangle the links with the past that have reappeared in the present time and are getting in the way of clear, adult conversation.

I’ve helped myself and many clients to express ourselves in a much more clear, assertive, sensitive yet powerful ways by using these steps. Particularly couples — when the emotional wounds and point-scoring are taken out of the dialogue huge steps can be made to get things back on a healthier track to a better destination.

It’s good to know that there is a helpful process we can follow. Even if we don’t get it right in the moment we can later reflect upon how much better it would have been if we’d used these steps. In some instances we can go back to the person concerned and refresh the conversation — using the insights gained — and aim for the outcome we wanted in the first place.

Unfortunately we don’t always have that option, and the interaction, work/business presentation or other challenge is over. At the very least we can review and rehearse them again using these templates and be better prepared in future.

A final word about the inner child

Well, that is my ‘thing’ so I mustn’t overlook it…after all your inner child is not only present at, but is also running your side of, any interactions.

If you are feeling overly emotional in a conversation or presentation then it’s helpful to imagine temporarily splitting off your vulnerable inner child part and keeping them safely soothed and entertained elsewhere — whilst the strong adult ‘you’ attends to the business in hand.

We should all protect our own vulnerable inner child whilst the adult part of us shows the courage, confidence and skills to be able to stand up, speak out and get our point across in a clear and concise way.

Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy) MIND HEALER & MENTOR

www.maxineharley.com — where you will also find a page of FREE RESOURCES to help you to heal and improve all of the relationships in your life — especially the most important one you have with yourself and your inner child (particularly if you have had a troubled childhood and toxic parents)

www.maxineharleymentoring.com — I help women to understand and manage their emotions, boundaries and behaviours. I help them to FEEL better so they can BE, DO and HAVE better

www.the-ripple-effect.co.uk — for my inexpensive 10 online self-help workshops

Originally published at lifelabs.psychologies.co.uk on August 26, 2015.

Originally published at medium.com