The Art of Conquering Difficult Conversations

There is an ART to conquering difficult conversations.

Let’s face it, one of the biggest communication challenges is having a difficult conversation. Everyone has at least ONE difficult conversation they need to have, but have been avoiding for days, weeks, even months. Here’s how to get one step closer to having THAT difficult conversation, and each one thereafter.

Be honest, YOU have had the same conversation in your head, a dozen times. Each time the outcome is the same, leaving you even more frustrated.

How a conversation becomes difficult

How does communicating what you need, become so awkward? Do you ever just jump into the conversation with the person in your outside voice, and work towards a resolution?

That’s something else entirely.

In reality, the conversation you have in your head bears little resemblance to how it plays out…good or bad. Think of the energy you expend ruminating about what to say, how to say it. How often do...

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Need Help? ASK

Step 1: Spit it Out

Ask for the help you need, short and to the point. Do so without hesitation, in a strong confident tone of voice. Do so without apology, it is to the benefit of those you serve. Do so without qualifiers. Yes, they are busy too, no need to state the obvious.

Step 2: Stop Talking

Once you make your request, stop talking in both your outside AND your inside voice. Pause, let them respond. Listen to hear. Do not be forming your rebuttal while waiting for them to speak. You will have plenty of time to navigate your next best steps once you hear what they have to say.

Step 3: Stay Focused

If they agree to your request, repeat back and clarify what you understand them to be agreeing to. “Ok”, even a “yes” is not a commitment. Be specific. If necessary, get the agreement in writing, if only in an informal email as a follow up to your conversation.

If they say “No” to your request, take a deep breath. This is no time to tuck your tail...

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