News about demise, a layoff or poor performance is not something that anybody looks forward to delivering. Much less to a discussion on any of the topics mentioned above or other situations that we know will create stress for ourselves and the person involved. All of us face situations where we need to handle a difficult discussion at some point in our lives. It could be with a friend, family, boss, subordinate or employee. It is something that we need to face however stressful it may be for us. It is something that we can postpone or delay but never avoid completely.
Preparation ensures the best that is possible. While there still can and will be surprises, preparation will help you minimize them or at least equip you to deal with them well. The same goes for difficult discussions. Difficult discussions if planned and handled well can be less stressful but definitely not fully stress-free.
Putting in thought to prepare will help you get the right frame of mind for such a discussion. One, which is positive, not accusatory or defensive and carries on the discussion objectively to reach an outcome that is the best there can be for both parties involved.
Timing is imperative, so is the venue and preferred method of communication, these are the three most critical aspects of a difficult discussion which to some extent maybe under your control. Make the best of it. The right time and a good mood can make a big difference to the outcome of the discussion. This is the only way for a person to be completely open and present their view point.
Be honest and straight. It is best to use simple and straight language that doesn’t beat around the bush. Maintain equanimity both mental and verbal. This will help you handle the discussion better. Take care to keep the tone even; this will not put the person on the other end on a defensive mode. The chances of the discussion resulting in a compromise or a situation that is beneficial to both sides will be way higher.
Make sure you give the other person a chance and comfort level to speak his or her mind. Listen without interrupting. Avoid dominating the discussion. Don’t hasten to put your viewpoint across. If you do this, it simply means that you have not heard the other person fully but were busy planning your response instead. Before responding, take your time to think over, evaluate your response from as many different perspectives as it’s possible for you. For words once spoken cannot be taken back.
Keep a reign on your temper for best results. If you let your temper take over the conversation, be prepared to face a temper outburst from the opposite person. Desist from being judgmental, as it can hamper your objectivity. Maintain eye contact, apart from helping you convey your own feelings, it also helps you to be receptive about the other person’s sincerity and intentions.
Difficult conversations are surely not a cake-walk but following the above tips should pave the road to some extent and make the ride less bumpy.
Do share your thoughts on the same.
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