Difficult conversations are an inevitable part of leadership, but they can also be some of the most challenging situations to navigate. Here are some tips for handling difficult conversations effectively:
- Always start with the other person’s agenda.
- Listen without saying a word 70 percent of the time. Confirm you understand what the other person is saying 20 percent of the time, both verbally and nonverbally. In the remaining time, ask questions that advance the conversation’s meaning.
- Become a people reader. Pay attention to others’ facial expressions.
- Focus not only on what people are saying, but also on what they are not saying.
- Frequently confirm what people are thinking, feeling and believing. Don’t assume you know what they mean.
- When people are trying to make their points, practice the art of saying “tell me more.”
- Don’t go into difficult conversations unprepared. First, think about where you want to end up. Second, think about what’s really going on. Finally, begin the process of discovering and designing an action plan.
- From a communication standpoint, you get what you want by first giving others what they need.
- At the end of every important conversation, review the commitment.
Let me know what you think. I’d also love to hear your favorite tips for handling conflict. You can leave me a comment at Simply Lead Coaching or LinkedIn.