In the workplace, a “difficult conversation” is anything you need to talk about but find it hard to talk about. Failing to handle such a conversation effectively can negatively affect productivity, teamwork, or customer service. There are three options: avoid the conversation, handle the conversation poorly, or handle the conversation well. This training will enhance participants’ understanding of difficult conversations and their ability to face them and handle them well.
- Know the causes and types of difficult conversations.
- Know how to prepare for difficult conversations.
- Understand your role in the conversation.
- Learn and be able to use a process to successfully manage difficult conversations.
- Learn and be able to apply proven communication techniques, so that difficult conversations go more smoothly.
Course Length: 1 day
Opening – Discussion
- What kinds of difficult conversations would you like to improve?
- What are some of the causes of difficult conversations?
- Difficult conversations defined
Three types of Difficult Conversations in the Workplace
- When you need to deliver bad news
- When the conversation unexpectedly takes a turn for the worse
- When one of the parties is verbally aggressive
A Process for Handling Difficult Conversations
- Center Yourself
- Plan the Conversation
- Use the Right Process
- Inquiry – Acknowledgement – Advocacy – Problem solving
- The Delegation Conversation
Getting Ready – Self-Awareness and Empathy
Activity: “What’s My Communication Style” assessment. Discussion of the four different styles.
Activity: Supportive Listening
Activity: Showing Empathy
Handling the Conversation
- Center yourself.
- Think things through in advance.
- Disentangle intent from impact.
- Use the right process.
Navigating the Conversation
- How to start the conversation
- Specific techniques for dealing with challenging people
Communicating Effectively – Guidelines
- Describe, don’t evaluate
- Legitimize and empathize—don’t minimize
- Lead with questions, not answers
- Listen – Listen – Listen
Course Materials: Course Workbook, “What’s My Communication Style” assessment
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