4 Ways To Navigate Difficult Conversations

You have to deal with difficult conversations regularly. There are constantly issues arising from personality conflicts to inefficient work.

These situations call for you to have difficult conversations with the employees or other leaders involved. You’ll have to get dirty and discover precisely what’s going on and what it will take to resolve the issue.

The good news is that you’re equipped and able to do this. You can diffuse tense situations.

But what does it take to do so? You’re about to find out.

4 Ways To Navigate Difficult Conversations

When there’s a conflict or a difficult situation that arises, you typically have to have a conversation with someone. These conversations require you to be brave, bold, and confident. That’s the only way you can get through them.

We’re going to look at 4 ways to get through these conversations. These techniques are time-tested and approved.

1. Prepare the best you can:

Have you ever rushed into a difficult conversation? Maybe you thought it was for the best until you realized you didn’t have all of the information you needed. Or did you discover there were additional circumstances that were pressing at the time?

You have to be prepared when you enter into a difficult conversation. Know what you want to say. Know what points you want to make. Practice them and then deliver the difficult conversation. 

2. Listen actively:

Difficult conversations are stressful. People often feel misunderstood. This is where active listening comes into play.

Listen with the intent to understand. Take the time to get the other person’s point of view. Discover why they acted the way they did or made the choices they did. When you do this, you may uncover more information and that they weren’t being malicious in their actions.

To listen actively, you need to maintain appropriate eye contact, use body gestures, and repeat their statements to show you understand what they’re telling you.

3. Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements:

No one likes the blame game. Even fewer people like being blamed. When we make you statements, the other person often feels attacked.

Instead of saying: “You actively participated in office gossip,” try a statement such as: “I saw you and your coworkers talking about Susan. It sounded as if it might have been gossiping. Can you help me understand what was said?”

See, this deflects from blaming the person you’re having the difficult conversation with. Instead, you’re asking them to help you understand what happened.

Try this the next time you have to have a difficult conversation and watch the atmosphere of the room change.

4. Present amicable solutions:

Too often, we focus on the problem when we have to hold complex and challenging conversations. We talk about what went wrong, who did what, and what the consequences are.

What if instead of talking about what happened, we talk about what could be

What could be’s are the solutions that we find in the unfortunate situations that have presented themselves. They are answers rather than accusations, restatements, and frustrations. They’re forward looking.

Work on addressing the issue by looking at the solutions to the issue at hand rather than the specific problem.

Have The Difficult Conversations

Difficult conversations are rarely fun. They’re hard, they bring out emotions, and they can stress relationships.

However, difficult conversations also get results. You discover that difficult times aren’t an end. Instead, they’re the beginning of new opportunities and solutions.

Stop hiding from them, start having the difficult conversations you need to have.

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