How to Prepare for Difficult Conversations

Jun 11, 2024 | Podcast

World at Work episode 80 How to Prepare for Challenging Conversations

“Using a brand script before you approach the person then get very clear about how this is going to help them, how it’s going to help the business, and how it will help your relationship.”

There are tough conversations that we all dread but inevitably encounter in both our personal and professional lives. Challenging conversations are unavoidable. Whether it’s with a colleague, a boss, or even a client, sooner or later, you’ll face that uncomfortable moment. But why do we struggle so much with it? It’s because we don’t acknowledge enough the courage and vulnerability needed to have these tough convos. Instead of dreading them we need to better understand how to prepare for challenging conversations.

It’s easy to postpone, but delaying means things will likely spiral out of control. The key is to address it as soon as you reasonably can. Timing is everything. It is also important to never assume ill intent. Sometimes the conflict might be brewing in your head while the other person is clueless. Communication is key, both as an employee and a leader. Ask more questions to get clarity before jumping to conclusions.

If you think there’s never a “perfect” time to have hard conversations, you’re right. Bad news never had good timing. The best approach? Do it ASAP after identifying the need. Rip that Band-Aid off. Don’t go in emotionally charged. Is it about making YOU feel better or genuinely solving a problem? Emotions matter, but they should guide, not dictate the conversation.

There are a few different ways to approach your next difficult conversation. One is by using the StoryBrand model to script your conversation. Focus on how the issue impacts the business, the team, and the individual. Clarity is power. The other is summed up in a quick: LAST. Listen, Apologize (for the situation, not blame), Solve, and Think. Simple yet powerful steps to navigate those muddy waters of workplace conflict.

If the conversation doesn’t go as planned and you’re still uneasy, it may be a sign to seek new opportunities. Don’t hesitate to get professional guidance. The team at Best Culture Solutions can help you navigate through it. Remember, uncomfortable conversations are stepping stones toward a more cohesive, understanding workplace. The payoff is worth the discomfort.

Connect with Tim and his team:

Website: https://bestculturesolutions.ca/

LinkedIn: Best Culture Solutions, Inc

Instagram: @best.culture.solutions  

Email: tim@bestculturesolutions.ca

Key Moments

01:37 The need for courage and vulnerability when facing difficult conversations.

05:21 Importance of asking questions for clarity.

08:42 Reflect before addressing perceived conflicts and take responsibility when necessary.

11:12 Effective communication shows willingness to engage proactively.

13:59 Acknowledging a lack of genuine apology; reflect on ways improve workplace relationships.

17:02 Seeking guidance for help navigating a change in workplace environment.

Tim Dyck
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