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Having Difficult Conversations

Having Difficult Conversations

Author: Essential Skills

Use communication strategies to manage challenging conversations.

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Sometimes we have to have difficult conversations at work. This might be a discussion with a colleague who interrupted you in a meeting or a meeting with your boss to go over declining sales figures. These conversations are never easy, but there are ways to be more prepared so that they can be productive and as pain free as possible! Whether it’s asking for a raise, owning up to a mistake or reporting inappropriate behavior...there are steps to keep in mind when you are tackling a new obstacle.

  1. Be direct 
  2. Be specific 
  3. Plan out the conversation 
  4. Watch your language 
  5. Offer a solution 
  6. Manage your emotions 
  7. Be empathetic 
  8. Allow the other person to ask questions

Dig Deeper

Having difficult conversations with a customer, a colleague or your boss could look a little bit different. Explore the following resources to learn some practical strategies on how to navigate these obstacles at work.

10 Ways to Handle Difficult Customers, Business News Daily

4 types of difficult co-workers and how to deal with them without losing your mind, CNBC Make It

How to Improve Communication With Your Boss,

think about it
Think about the types of workplace communication we talked about before. When having a difficult conversation, what is the best tool or channel to use? How should you start the conversation?