“Method is not less requisite in ordinary conversation than in writing, provided a man would talk to make himself understood.” – Joseph Addison
Ever put off having an important conversation because it all seemed too hard? Most of us have.
Having a difficult conversation at work is challenging, yet sometimes the impact of not having that discussion can be greater than putting it off. So what will make this all a little simpler and less daunting?
Ok, so planning the discussion won’t necessarily mean that it will be a breeze, however with a little preparation it can be easier and more productive. Every situation is different, so there is no ‘one size fits all’ formula for the planning of a difficult conversation – here are some suggestions that might help get you started.
Back to basics
- Write down what it is that is of concern to you – this means that you will be focussed on the issue to discuss; writing it down helps ensure clarity
- Try to look mostly at the facts of the situation (yet still acknowledge feelings of all parties so you are prepared to manage emotions!)
- Ensure you are clear on what your objective is in having the conversation – what are you trying to achieve? how will you know if you have achieved your objective?
- What will be your approach to the conversation – how will you start it? what are the main points that you want to get across? how will you seek the other person’s input?
- Consider the best time and place to have the conversation
- Think about what might go wrong in the discussion – forewarned is forearmed!
- Consider how you will remain calm if things go wrong and what you might do to save the situation
These conversations are hard. They are often necessary. Make it a little easier by being prepared.
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