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"That wasn't the reaction I expected": Using the 3Ps to get the response you want

"That wasn't the reaction I expected!"

Something can sound perfectly reasonable when I think it in my head, but occasionally I get a reaction that tells me that what I said didn’t come across the way I wanted. I might get a more emotional response than I expected. It’s only when I reflect on it afterwards that I can see where the wires might have become crossed.

Whether it’s with partner, coworker, friend or family member, we’ve all had moments like this. Moments where a seemingly normal adult conversation becomes a tense exchange. It’s easy to get drawn into a defensive back and forth. Here I explain how 3 Ps can help you have the impact you intended.

The 3 Ps

If a conversation starts to become strained and emotions are rising to the surface, focus on the three Ps (created by Therapist Magali Peysha) to make sure it stays on track.

What is your purpose for the conversation? Are you trying to help someone avoid a problem because you care about them? Perhaps you’re giving useful feedback to have a better relationship? Have this clear in your mind as you speak, even if the other person starts pointing the finger making accusations. It’s easy to get defensive and snap back. When we focus on the bigger purpose the little stuff starts to bother us less, and we can more easily keep things in perspective.

What is your body language saying? Our hearts and minds might be open, but is your body language closed? Are your arms folded? Are you turned away? Did you roll your eyes? Not only does taking a moment to adjust your body language give the right message, but it actually helps us to receive information and read the other person better.

Am I fully present with this person right now? Do I have a dozen other things on my mind at the same time? We spend much time guessing at the future. We prepare for an emotion we might have or a fear that may never be realised. Check that you are fully present with the other person right now and open to what they are communicating.

What do you think about the 3 Ps?

Do you have any tips for keeping sensitive conversations on track?

Feel free to share your thoughts with me either by email or on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Michelle PrattComment