What do you do when faced with a difficult conversation? Some slink away from the confrontation. Some take the opposite stance and dig their heels in for a fight. Some act like children. The rest of us react somewhere in between.
The best deal with these conversations by using the following communication skills training guidelines:
- Stay neutral. Try not to add to the stressful situation with emotion, defensiveness or criticism. Think before you speak so you don’t charge the atmosphere with anger or a challenge.
- Ask questions. Use open-ended questions to learn more about the problem. Be curious. There may be aspects to the situation you don’t know or haven’t fully appreciated.
- Talk about what’s in it for you both to find a solution. Solving the problem will benefit both sides. Keep those benefits in mind.
- Agree on next steps. Discuss possible solutions and agree upon what actions you each need to take to fix the problem.