How to Deal with Difficult Unplanned Conversations

How to Deal with Difficult Unplanned Conversations

How to Deal with Difficult Unplanned Conversations

Delivering unpleasant news, correcting misunderstandings, confronting a friend or family member, and dealing with hard-to-talk-about issues are the kinds of conversations most of us dread. They’re a part of life, however, and you can’t avoid them. Although you may never be 100 per cent comfortable in these situations; but the fact can’t be ignored that there are a number of things you can do to make these necessary talks as productive and painless as possible.

Below are ten guidelines to help you confront challenging situations. If you are intentional about implementing them, your results will improve and you will be more likely to reach your desired outcome.

1. Bear in mind that conversations aren’t always positive

bear in mind that conversations arent always positive

All of us may find ourselves on either side of a difficult conversation; if delivering the message we must be confident to tell the truth, and if receiving the message we must be able to handle the truth. Whichever position we’re in, an awareness of how we handle ourselves is essential to achieving positive conversations. The more easily you can admit to your own mistakes, your own mixed intentions, and your own contributions to the problem, the more balanced you will feel during the conversation, and the higher the chances it will go well.

2. Know About the Fact Before Making any Judgements

fact before making any judgements

Different perceptions of intent, interpretations of the facts, and judgment about what is right or best are usually at the root of all sensitive conversations. When you begin with this in mind, you will not be surprised when these root issues arise. Remember, what may be logical to you may not be logical to others.

3. Be Generous  

be generous

Try to understand the point of view as well the emotional state of the other person. Ask questions to learn their perspective.  Understanding the other party’s position, helps you make better decisions on how to address the situation. I have found that, in most cases, the other person is aware of what happened and usually accepts responsibility to correct the situation. When you show genuine interest in understanding the other person’s side of the story, you are more effective in resolving the matter.

4. Remain Calm

remain calm

The precursor to effective conflict management is an emotionally intelligent manager who is aware of their stress level, emotions and non- verbal communications. Perhaps you are usually able to control your emotions  and they have never affected you at work. However, failing to be honest to yourself about your feelings and  holding them back can weaken your ability to  concentrate upon and listen to the other person, increasing the risk of conflict. If you express anger, it is natural for the other person to respond accordingly to match your emotional state.

5. Never Interrupt Between the Conversation


Show the other person the respect you want to be shown when you are talking. In addition, don’t appear like you are anxious to respond. People who can’t wait to speak generally aren’t listening because they are so focused on what they want to say.

6. Write Out the Details of Situation


If time permits, it is helpful to put the details of the situation in writing. Include what you wish both parties to achieve. Doing so gives you an opportunity to consider all views and nuances of the situation. Taking the time to properly prepare for any important conversation yields better results.

If you are a person who dislikes confrontation, difficult conversations of any nature can be stressful. You can, however, be proactive in reducing this stress when you accept that such conversations are inevitable from time to time and that you can improve your skills in dealing with them by putting some of the above recommendations into practice. Alternatively, you may also seek help from a professional.