managing difficult conversations

Managing Difficult Conversations: 10 Best Practices

who this class is for

Everyone

Test your knowledge with a quick test and earn a free micro-certificate

Shop for etiquette, behavioral, and contextual signs

About this micro-class

Mastering difficult conversations is an ongoing process and a crucial skill in the workplace.

Best Practices for Managing Difficult Conversations

1. Preparation

Define the Issue: Clearly identify the problem or concern. Be specific about behaviors or situations causing the difficulty.

Know Your Goal: Determine what you want to achieve from the conversation. Is it understanding, resolution, or a change in behavior?

Stay Objective: Focus on the facts, not assumptions or emotions.

2. Choose the Right Time and Place

Privacy: Ensure a confidential setting to avoid unnecessary embarrassment.

Timing: Pick a time when all parties can dedicate their attention and are not rushed.

3. Start Positively

Express Intentions: Begin with a positive statement to set a constructive tone.

Use “I” Statements: Frame concerns from your perspective to avoid sounding accusatory.

4. Active Listening

Empathize: Understand the other person’s perspective, even if you disagree.

Reflective Listening: Repeat back what you hear to confirm understanding.

5. Be Direct, Not Aggressive

Avoid Blame: Focus on behaviors, not the person.

Use Specific Examples: Provide instances to illustrate your points clearly.

6. Encourage Dialogue

Ask Open-Ended Questions: Promote discussion and gain insights.

Seek Solutions: Collaborate on finding resolutions rather than dwelling on the problem.

7. Manage Emotions

Stay Calm: Maintain composure, even if emotions rise.

Take Breaks if Needed: If tensions escalate, suggest a short break to regroup.

8. Focus on the Future

Discuss Action Steps: Identify concrete steps for improvement.

Follow Up: Set a time to review progress and provide feedback.

9. Seek Feedback

Ask for Input: Inquire about the other person’s perspective on the conversation.

Be Open to Critique: Use feedback as a tool for personal and professional growth.

10. Know When to Escalate

Company Policies: Familiarize yourself with your company’s procedures for escalating issues.

Involve Higher-ups: If necessary, involve a supervisor or HR professional.

Test your knowledge with a quick test and earn a free micro-certificate

Shop for etiquette, behavioral, and contextual signs

related micro-classes