How to Tame Your Tongue, Disarm Conflict, and Walk Away the Winner

Embracing the art of focused conversations that are sincere and powerful

Jim Farina


Photo by Jessica Da Rosa on Unsplash

We all can recall when you either said something that you immediately regretted or spoke too soon to fill a void in the conversation, which landed weirdly. You blurted something out that was inappropriate or embarrassing. When they play back again in the theater of your mind, it makes you cringe, even days, months, and years later.

It's those moments when you wish time travel were possible, and you can go back and say what you've rehearsed in your head after the fact. We've all paid the price for it.

The best we can do is tell ourselves that it's not as big a deal as we make it out to be. We shake it off and move on. But it could be a bigger deal than we imagine, and somebody is expecting an apology. Communication skills can be a real dilemma at times.

Thankfully, there are experts in the science of communication we can learn from. Countless studies have been done on this topic. There are easy and practical exercises that we can apply to help cultivate excellent communication practices that will enhance our social, business, and family lives.

One of the most comprehensive resources on this topic is a book by Andrew B. Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy.

Good Communication Begins with a Mind that's Calm, Present, and Silent

My father passed away recently. My 90-year-old mom was completely reliant on him for everything. Mom is still in good health and is living alone in their apartment.

Have you ever tried teaching new life skills to a senior who is set in their ways, grieving, and has little interest in learning? I've never been so short-tempered in my life. I tried to show Mom how to use the TV remote and came away wanting to put my fist through a wall. I snap at her out of impatience and hate that I go there so quickly.

Even with regular meditation, mindfulness, strong Christian values, and genuine empathy for people, I still struggle on…