There are specific skills to handling a difficult conversation well, however in the heat of the moment it can be hard to maintain the level of focus required to manage those skills.
One way of dealing with this challenge is to prepare well for the conversation and setting out with a clear purpose in mind.
Making notes for the conversation and writing tips for yourself can also help to keep the conversation on track and prevent it spiralling out of control.
Here are a few things to think about when starting what you know will be a difficult conversation…
- start by asking the other persons point of view first before you launch into your view of things
- really listen to what the other person is saying, be curious, interested, even make notes if needed
- demonstrate that you understand what they are saying and appreciate their honesty
- don’t interrupt to express an opinion or disagree, in fact don’t interrupt, let the person fully finish what they are saying.
- acknowledge the emotional energy and feelings but try to direct them towards a useful purpose
- be sure to share your point of view also, including how are you feeling
- always avoid the blame game – like you’d avoid throwing petrol on a barbeque
- don’t take what they say personally – at the end of this you want a resolution.
- don’t assume they will agree with you, remember your differences have brought about the conversation.
- ensure that the conversation ends positively – the key is to work towards a mutual understanding not a mutual agreement.
In any difficult conversation there are 3 truths:
- Learning their story and feelings
- Sharing your story and feelings
- Resolving the problem together
To read more about how to handle a difficult conversation and the skills involved please click here…