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11 Keys to Mastering Difficult Conversations

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https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/feeling-it/201707/11-keys-mastering-difficult-conversations

psychologytoday.com

11 Keys to Mastering Difficult Conversations
As a happiness and workplace well-being researcher, I hear these questions all the time: What's the best way to master difficult conversations? How can we give feedback with a good outcome? After all, such talks are inevitable, at home and at work.

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More Positive Than Negative Feedback

High-performing organizations deliver roughly five times as many positive statements (supportive, appreciative, encouraging) as negative ones (critical, disapproving, contradictory). That’s because...

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Focus On The Positive Parts

We tend to focus on giving employees critical feedback. But, by focusing on their weaknesses, we only create competence. By focusing on their strengths, we create excellence.

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Emphasize Collaboration

Be objective when you speak about a negative event. Rather than placing blame or evaluating the problematic situation, describe it and its consequences, and suggest acceptable alternatives.

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Be Aware Of Your Facial Expression

Someone’s smile activates the smile muscles in your own face, while their frown activates your frown muscles. We can discern whether someone is smiling even if we can’t see them.

Your smile i...

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Maintain Eye Contact

You can predictably determine someone’s emotions from their gaze. Eye contact is the crucial first step for resonance, or a person’s ability to read someone else’s emotions.

Make and m...

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Control Your Voice

We are acutely aware of the voices of people we consider important, and the way we feel about another person shifts the way we speak. The tone of our voice, more than the words themselves, can g...

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Take An Easy Posture

The way you sit — slumped or sitting tall, arms open or crossed — transmits a message. Having your chest open, arms uncrossed, making sure to keep nodding, smiling, and vocalizing (saying things...

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Breathe

Stress or anger makes us breathe quickly and shallowly, and when tired or exasperated, we are more likely to sigh. Similarly, we may feel annoyance coming from someone who sighs a lot.

Bef...

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9. Pay Attention

Our minds often wander and we're not present in the moment, with the people in front of us. 

When you are not fully present, you are less likely to hear, understand and respond skillf...

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Be Authentic

According to research, when dealing with people who are not authentic, we often walk away feeling uncomfortable or manipulated and our blood pressure rises.

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Show Compassion

Rather than seeing the feedback situation as “work” or a hassle, see it as an opportunity to connect with someone who has their own needs and pain. By remembering the common human experience...

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Have a smile on your face

Smiling is one sure way to make your co-workers like you. Therefore, be sure to always have a smile on your face when welcoming people in your office or just greeting them in the corridor. I...

Be fast in answering

Whenever a colleague asks for your support or provides you with a solution to an issue, make sure you acknowledge his or her action with a simple ‘got it’ or ‘received’. The lack of reaction from your side might lead to your co-worker thinking that their help or need does not matter. 

Showing consideration toward coworkers by acknowledging their communications promptly is a form of civility, which is important to workplace culture. And, as management researchers have documented, experiencing incivility can lead workers to be less productive and loyal to the company.

Effective listening

When listening to a colleague, try to focus entirely on his or her story rather than reflecting on your own position or experiences. Asking questions and actually taking into consideration their answers is a sure way to understand their story and prove helpful when providing advice.
Active listening enables employers themselves to lead more effectively, as it avoids frustration on the staff’s side. 

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Negative Feedback

Negative feedback is a more important component of the feedback cycle than positive feedback. 92% of people say in a study that negative feedback improves workplace performance.

Why are people scared of Feedback

Normally people react with caution and fear towards negative feedback, but it is much better than no feedback at all.

Informing the colleague/subordinate/client/customer or individual about something that is not working, is always beneficial, and builds transparency and trust.

Check how it impacts the person

The fundamental goal of giving feedback is to help the person you’re giving it to. They should realize that you are not trying to make them feel bad, and this is an exercise to help make them better.

How it impacts each individual is going to be different so a tailor-made approach is required. 

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When having a difficult conversation, be direct and get to the point quickly. 

Difficult conversations become even more difficult when the delivery is complicated.

Most of t...

Be Direct

During a difficult conversation, be quick and direct. This is not the time for feedback techniques, as they will mask the point of the conversation and lessen its impact making it more difficult.

Often, the person knows that a critique is coming, so rather than dancing around the subject, just get to it. It’s better for both parts.

Be Specific

Be honest and thorough with your feedback, give examples and fully clarify why you're having the conversation.

The more clarity you can provide, the better the critique will be received.

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