3 Important Lessons on Mindful Conversation

To perform at our best in crucial conversations, marrying mindful intentions with mindful actions helps to ensure that you can make good on your good intentions.

Nataliya Kalabina/Adobe Stock

You stare in stunned disbelief. “Did she really just say that? What the h*ll’s wrong with her? Didn’t she hear what I just said? I’m never going to get through to this person and have a mindful conversation.”

All of a sudden, your high-stakes conversation has just taken a sharp left turn. Your good intentions and well-laid plans have flown out the window.

You start to feel off balance. Heat rises up the back of your neck. Breathing becomes heavier. Palms sweat. Mouth dries. Thinking scrambles. Focus narrows. Run away or lash out?

Now isn’t exactly the time to excuse yourself so you can go down the hall and meditate for 20 minutes. Instead, you’ll need to collect yourself in the moment to practice mindfulness in action.

* * *

Whether you are what I call “mindful-curious,” new to mindfulness, or an experienced practitioner, chances are that you’ve heard a lot about solitude, stillness, and silence. For sure, many solo practices that require these conditions are invaluable for training yourself to become more self-aware in a non-judgmental way.

Yet to practice being mindful in social interactions, you can’t be alone, still, or quiet. By definition,…

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About the author

Lili Powell

Lili Powell has taught leadership and management communication at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business for more than 20 years. Leading Mindfully, her executive education short course with Jeremy Hunter, helps managers develop presence of mind, perform with skill and care, and lead others to accomplish worthy goals.