Crucial Conversations – Don’t Shy Away


It is important to confront difficult situations and to try to stop the situation becoming more complex if not dealt with.  Having a difficult conversation is not easy, but believe me when I say I have seen situations become much more difficult if not addressed.

Do not avoid or postpone difficult conversations.   We all reach a stage where we have to have them.  We dread them.  We procrastinate.  We try to find another way out.  It is essential to take control.  Have that conversation but do it properly and positively.  Prepare for the meeting. Difficult conversations are inevitable.  So, practise, practise, and practise.  It will only get easier.

Here are some Tips to help:

Set a date

  • Decide on a date and schedule the meeting.

Prepare yourself

  •  Be clear about what you need to achieve.  Your preparation and speech should be designed to fulfil that outcome
  •  Be transparent about the “why we need to have this conversation”
  • Talk about the impact of the behaviour/situation. “Why” is very important to maintain your resolve.  It helps to manage any doubts before, during or after the conversation.

Put yourself in their shoes

  • Think through the conversation from the other person’s perspective. Remember you have got used to the idea; it may be a surprise for them.  What will their emotional state be?  What are their options?

Cover all eventualities – no surprises

  • Plan out what you intend to say and understand why.
  • Always have specific information to support your case.

Write down the key issues before you have the conversation

  • Intentions are irrelevant. The words that you use are really important.

Listen to them – hear them out

  • Understand the emotional components of any conversation and acknowledge the recipient’s concerns.

Don’t rush the conversation

  • If you are just looking for a fast closure you will find that a number of things are left up in the air.

Don’t be defensive

  • Arguing your case is a lose-lose approach. It will cause discord and loss of face for both parties.

Close conclusively

  • Understanding may differ.
  • Repeat what you both discussed, agree upon the conclusions
  • Be clear about next steps.

Hope this helps!