3 Tips for Surviving Difficult Conversations

Posted on: April 29th, 2011 by bobmorris

 

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

No one is immune to workplace tensions: It is inevitable that you will have some trying conversations with colleagues or clients.

Here are three ways to reach a productive outcome, no matter how tough things get:

Keep it civil. Don’t turn the conversation into a combat with a winner and a loser. Everyone looks bad when the discussion turns toxic.

Don’t rehearse. When you know things are going to be tough, it’s tempting to practice what you’re going to say ahead of time. But this is a conversation — not a performance. Instead, know where you stand but be open enough to listen and react.

Resist making assumptions. You don’t have access to anyone’s intentions but your own. Don’t assume that you know where your counterpart is coming from or how she views the problem. Instead, ask for her perspective.

Today’s Management Tip was adapted from “Difficult Conversations: Nine Common Mistakes” by Holly Weeks.

To see the slide show and join the discussion, please click here.

 

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