Holding Tough Conversations – Part 5
Last month’s newsletter focused on Step 4 for holding tough conversations, which involves one of the most important steps in the process: getting grounded a few minutes before holding the conversation, so you have a calm and centered presence going into the dialogue.
Once you hold the actual conversation using what you prepared in Step 3, it’s important to clarify and come to an agreement about what each of you will do going forward. You can do this by asking the following questions:
- “What are you willing to do?
- “By when?”
- “What do you need from me?” or “What do you need me to do?”
Be sure that both of you are clear about what each of you will do and agree to it. Then determine a date to have a follow up conversation to give feedback on whether or not the agreement is being upheld. The follow up is critical. Agreements mean nothing if they are not upheld and there is no further dialogue about it.
When you hold the follow up conversation, mention specific examples of when the agreement was upheld or not upheld. If it’s being upheld, thank the other person for following through on the commitment. If it’s not being upheld, ask the other person what’s preventing him/her from following through on the commitment, and then renegotiate if necessary by asking the other person what he/she is willing to commit to (using the questions listed above). Clarify the new agreement and set another date for a follow up conversation.
If you have adequately prepared what you plan to say in Step 3 by writing it down and rehearsing it a few times, the conversation will be much easier when it comes time to have it. Planning, preparation, and presence are the key ingredients for holding successful difficult conversations.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” – Alan Lakein
“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” – Arthur Ashe