Building the courage to manage the hard to have conversations comes with the job of being a leader or business owner. Often called tough conversations, these are the ones that challenge your communication skills and emotional intelligence.
They are the conventions, though, that are necessary to create peak performance in your team and continue to gain best results for the business.
While no one ever likes the challenge of confrontation or calling the elephant in the room, there are ways to ensure the outcome of tough conversations can be directed by your expertise in communication and through using your emotional intelligence.
How to prepare and hold a hard to have conversation
Be clear on what you want the person or your audience to understand
It doesn’t matter if your conversation is with one person or with 100. You need to be 100% sure about what the conversation is intended to achieve.
- Do you want behaviour change?
- Do you want to share information?
- Are you asking for a commitment?
- Are you announcing a change that will directly impact the person?
Build opportunities into your conversation to reinforce the message you want to get across. Summarise what it means to your audience and what they need to do next.
Give yourself and the other person time
Hard to have conversations with any sized audience takes time. If you haven’t been given the time you think you need, it’s better not to go ahead with the conversation.
When hard conversations are required, don’t rush. Speaking clearly, slowly and allowing pauses will help the person to digest what you’ve said. If you need a few days to gather your thoughts to say the right thing, then do so.
Most importantly … listen
Communication and feedback on the tough conversations is a two-way street so allow time for questions or objections as they arise. If it’s important, give it the time it deserves so respect the topic and respect your audience or the other person too, as you never know what else is going on in their world.
Often, the and the solution will most likely unfold as you talk.
Have you ever had to have a tough conversation with someone?
- How did you prepare for it and;
- How did the conversation work out?
We would love to hear about it so be sure to share your case study below. Of course, remember to preserve the privacy of your team members and audience.
Athena Coaching offers leadership coaching in Sydney and online. Specifically tailored to suit the needs of female executive leaders and with the support of Linda Murray, you will be guided towards accelerated success and increased confidence for leadership.