Initiating Mindful Conversations

Due to all the fears we humans have about engaging in important conversations, it is beneficial to have a tried and true approach to jumping in. Here is an approach to initiating a Mindful Conversation that we and others have had great success utilizing. It uses the acronym of AEIOU.

As you practice this, feel free to make it your own by changing the order. To start, use all the components to find out how they work. As you get facile at intiating Mindful Conversations in this way, you will find your own adaptation of it.

In this practice, I'll guide you through the AEIOU set up. Practice it frequently with issues that are small so you develop your skill. Then, when you really want to initiate an important conversation mindfully, you will have already started building the new neural network.

Give yourself a goal for the frequency with which you will start this practice. You might start with once per week or one time per day. Start small so that it is doable.

Directions:

Think of someone in your life who you can experiment with. Consider letting that person know that you are developing a new skill and would like their support.

  1. Agreement: When you have chosen a person with whom to practice, ask him or her if they are willing to have a conversation with you and if so, is this a good time? Let them know that if this is not a good time, the two of you can find a time to talk in which you will be undisturbed or at least less likely to be disturbed and can give this conversation your full attention.
  2. End in Mind: When the time is agreed on and you are starting the conversation, start with the end in mind. Tell this person how you hope the conversation ends, i.e. that you two are on the same page, feeling heard, getting feedback, etc.
  3. Importance: Now convey what is important to you about this relationship and about the value you place on this conversation.
  4. Obstacles: Then, bring up the obstacles that could get in your way in a manner that makes it easier to stay conscious of them and maintain your positive focus.
  5. Us: Rather than assume that the other person knows what you want, tell this person what you would like from him/her as you speak and how you will listen to him/her when he/she/they are talking.

Start a little log to keep track of your experience. You might give each trial a number that is a measure of how well you think you did going through AEIOU to set up the Mindful conversation.

Write or post questions, positive, or challenging experiences that you have.

Good practicing :-)

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