Difficult conversations part two

Part two of our difficult conversations guide. It’s time to pick up the actual phone. And have the actual conversation! During the call, remember:

You are in control – this is your process. Maintain composure and ensure you get through your list of items to discuss. Have answers at the ready – there may be questions or objections. Deliver the answers and overcome the objections calmly and clearly. Once people start repeating themselves it means either it’s time to move on to the next point, or they don’t feel they are being heard. Address this.

Emotion – sometimes people will get upset. This is fine, it’s often not about you, even if they say it is. It’s important to provide people with an opportunity to state their feelings about your message and your process, even if it’s hard to hear. If they give you valid feedback about the process or even your personal handling of a matter, listen as objectively as you possibly can. It might sting, but it will make you better at your job. Stay calm, firm and professional – this is boundary maintenance and enforcement time, respectfully.

End the call with clear next steps, and be sure to follow through or you’ll have another difficult conversation on your hands!