Difficult conversations that need to take place can show up almost any time.
They can feel like a confrontation and create a bit of “dread” in the ole’ tum tum.
And the longer you wait to have the conversation, no matter how difficult, the harder it is to have.
Most of my clients when first discussing the idea of having a difficult conversation that could possibly be made easy to accomplish, just do not believe me.
They are sure that only the worst will happen like:
- Push back
- Hurt feelings
- Disruption in the workplace
- Disruption in the team, family, community, partnership, marriage
- Projects negatively affected
- Legal actions
Sure, you can have all of that happen and more. But it does not have to get to any of these boiling points with a few simple pieces of strategy for the conversation.
- Why is the conversation going to be difficult?
- Why have you not had the conversation – what have you gained by delaying the conversation?
- Do you have the facts in place (or thought them through) of why the situation is difficult?
- Have you determined the outcome (think solution or next steps) that you want from having the conversation?
A bit of prep and question asking can save you lots of heartburn and dread.
Most of the time the conversation is to stop something or to improve something. If it is to improve performance, then set your thoughts on what you want the performance to be and why that would be valuable.
Find out from the person(s) you are having the conversation with what would be important for them as an outcome.
Facts are important. Examples are also important. If you are “correcting” behavior and performance, have at least 2 examples for each situation.
Difficult conversations lose their punch when you are prepared with outcomes, performance solutions, examples and timelessness of having the conversation.
Let me know how I can help. Don’t delay because you have dreaded the situation. We can easily detail the needs and actions together.
My best to you,
P.S. I have a full “Delivering Difficult Information Successfully” article if you would like to receive it. Send me an email and I will get it right out to you. It has helped 100’s of people get to the place where there is little difficulty and lots of solutions, outcomes and improved performance.
P.P.S. Speaking of communicating well, I think you would thoroughly enjoy my new eBook “Business Communication Etiquette” (BCE) – You will find lots of tips and techniques that will help you have excellent communication experiences that will keep you away from having to have difficult conversations.