Holding Tough Conversations – Part 1

A common theme that keeps coming up with my clients lately is around holding tough conversations. Whether they be with employees, family members, a significant other, or friends most of us find tough conversations quite uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. Often times we don’t know exactly what to say, how to start the conversation, or when it is most appropriate to hold the conversation. In addition, we usually make up stories about what will happen when we talk to the other person. We may imagine that he or she will get angry or defensive, file a complaint, quit their job, end the relationship, or simply not like us anymore. These things rarely happen when people utilize some simple steps when holding these types of conversations.

This newsletter focuses on the most fundamental step, which is deciding whether or not to hold the conversation. We often hope that the issue or problem will just go away on its own without having to address it with the other person. Sometimes it does go away by itself, but more often than not the problem doesn’t get better with time. The very first question to ask yourself is what will happen if this issue continues and is not resolved? If the consequences to you, your company, your employees, your family, your friends, or someone else are severe, then it should be pretty clear that the issue must be addressed. Here is a list of questions that you can ask yourself to help determine the pros and cons of holding the tough conversation and whether the consequences of delaying are more costly than taking the plunge and addressing the issue head on.

– What will happen if you have this conversation now?
– What will happen if you don’t have this conversation now and the issue continues?
– What won’t happen if you have this conversation now?
– What won’t happen if you don’t have this conversation now and the issue continues?

Stayed tuned for future newsletters which will cover each of the next steps in detail to help you be more prepared and effective in holding difficult conversations.

“The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.” – Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

“Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.” – Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

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