Skip to Main Content

Human Relations - Topics & Resources: Difficult Conversations

Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they would like to be treated.” If you think that is too hard, then just be kind.

PLAYLIST: Skills for Structuring Difficult Conversations - Getting the Job Done.

When conversation is serious, don't joke. Don't be unpredictable.

Increasing predictability, by

  1. continuously orienting other person to where you are,
  2. what you've covered, and
  3. where you are going

will help them relax and trust you.

  1. Schedule
  2. Sit down
  3. Set agenda early
  1. Gather information before you give information (shut up and listen)  Ask open questions...what or how
  2. Aim to establish a shared understanding. It sound to me like you feel...Then ask if you can share your pov.
  3. Always to agree to a plan. Ask them what should happen next.

6 ways to increase predictability and decrease anxiety wrt difficult conversations.

1. Set the agenda - start with what you want to talk about

2. Explain next steps -

"I'm going to ask you some questions about your past medical history,

what I think may be going on,

and then what we are going to do about it."

3. Asking permission + empowerment (be prepared for a negative)

"Asking them if they want to talk about..."

4. Parking lot  for distractions - thank you for sharing, it sounds like and important issue, is it OK if we come back to it later?

5. The warning shot. I'm really sorry I have difficult info to share with you...may need to do multiple times.  

6. Sorry, I need to interrupt you...(see # 4) pivot back on track.

7. I'm going to be rude now..I have some really direct questions, ...going to give you my opinion about that...

PLAYLIST: Critical Skills for Responding to Emotion in Difficult Conversations

Advice for talking to victims and patients

Respond to Emotion by Naming It

Difficult Conversations: Why Good Intentions Are NOT Enough

Use the skill of shared thinking:  You need to share your thinking...why the conversation is even happening...before you ask a hard question.  Ask for more information instead of asking why did you do "that".

chat loading...

About UsContact UsFVTC Terms of ServiceSitemap
FVTC Mission, Vision, Values & Purposes FVTC Privacy StatementFVTC Library Services Accessibility Statement
DISCLAIMER: Any commercial mentions on our website are for instructional purposes only. Our guides are not a substitute for professional legal or medical advice.

Fox Valley Technical College • Library Services • 1825 N. Bluemound Drive • Room G113
Appleton, WI 54912-2277 • United States • (920) 735-5653
© 2024 • Fox Valley Technical College • All Rights Reserved.

The pages are hosted by SpringShare. Springshare Privacy Policy.