One person’s ‘difficult conversation’ is another person’s breeze. Whether you’re a logical planner who avoids highly emotional situations… a passionate visionary whose worst nightmare is being cornered on the detail… or a harmonious team player who steers clear of those hard-nosed performance conversations. So the generic sounding ‘difficult conversation’ is actually highly individual to us.
So ask yourself these 3 simple questions:
What conversations have you been avoiding and with whom?
What does the voice in your head say (come on, we’ve all got one) when you contemplate actually going ahead with one of these ‘tricky’ meetings or calls?
How much would it actually help you, the team, the business, the other person, if you bit the bullet?
“well yeah… but…” do I hear you say?
If so, try this very simple approach – stop thinking about yourself… instead put your energies where they are best invested – into concentrating on the other person’s perspective and your relationship with them.
In preparation for the conversation, ask yourself
What do I know about this person and their goals and motivations?
What are preconceptions and assumptions about them and what they may or may not think, feel or do?
In what ways are they similar and different from me, in terms of their style and habits?
How can I flex my style to help them to really hear me?
What great questions do I need to ask to really understand their position and what they want?
What you actually do is of course up to you… but there’s a strong chance that if you shift your focus away from yourself and towards the ‘other’, you’ll get a better result than you were expecting.