Why are difficult conversations so…..difficult? We’ve had one or two around here, so here is part one of our two part how-to guide for difficult conversations: Preparation. Preparation is key. Ensure you are ready . I don’t mean put it off until you’re “ready”, as in after you’ve arranged your socks by date of purchase; rather don’t just dive in. Try:
-Education – know your content. Make sure you clearly understand your message and the reason for delivering it. If you’re taking no further action on a complaint, know the reason and understand it. Have documentation in front of you to refer to.
-An appropriate physical space to have the conversation – find a quiet room (if possible). Get your headset, pen and paper, or whatever you need ready before you call, especially if you expect the discussion to be lengthy.
-Make time – don’t allow five minutes for a twenty minute conversation.
-Call at a mutually appropriate time – If the person has told you mornings are difficult for them, call in the afternoon.
-Practice – talk the key elements of the discussion out confidentially with a colleague, support person or the dog. Practice the language you will use. Consider how difficult things might be phrased delicately.