Difficult Conversations

In your job or in a relationship you need to give negative feedback or have a difficult conversation on something you want the other person to change or improve on. We keep avoiding them for the fear of damaging our relationship or it backfiring on us making the situation worse.

However postponing it never works, leading to a much worse problem later for both you and the other person. Here are some of the simple and practical rules, to biting the bullet:

Have the discussion as soon as possible: The more you delay the conversation the more difficult it becomes. Imagine yourself in other person’s place; the earlier you know your mistakes, the easier it is to learn and improve it. But as more time elapses you are committed to the mistake and hence want to justify it. Same is true for the other person.

Accept that the other person may not be happy: Nobody likes unfavorable feedback. But remember the bigger picture, the feedback is for their own good, so don’t sugar coat and get diverted with what’s important. Make them understand it’s for their own improvement and growth.

Clear content with facts: Let your words do your work for you. Say what you mean. Imagine that you are a child storyteller and that it’s important that person understand you. If your counterpart distorts what you say, repeat it just as you said it the first time. Write it down with actual facts and dates, do not improvise while discussing. In case if new facts come up, you should pause and reschedule it for later discussion but stick to a script.

Polite but firm word phrasing: There are lots of different ways to say what you have to say. Some are temperate; some baldly provoke your counterpart with loaded language. If your counterpart dismisses, resists, or throws back your words, he’s not likely to hold onto your content — so choose your words carefully.

Neutral tone: Tone is the non-verbal part of the message you’re delivering. It’s the inflection in your voice, your facial expressions, and your conscious and unconscious body language. These carry emotional weight in a difficult conversation. It’s hard to use a neutral tone when your emotions are running high. That’s why you need to practice it ahead of time, rehearse it if possible.

Go ahead use the above rules and ease your “Difficult Conversations”…

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