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How to Have Difficult Conversations When You Don't Like Conflict

https://hbr.org/2017/05/how-to-have-difficult-conversations-when-you-dont-like-conflict

hbr.org

How to Have Difficult Conversations When You Don't Like Conflict
Executive Summary If you dread discord, it can be natural to avoid or delay a difficult conversation. But this can hurt your relationships, and have other negative outcomes. You can learn to dive into these tough talks by reframing your thoughts. Begin from a place of curiosity and respect, and stop worrying about being liked.

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Begin from a place of curiosity

Begin from a place of curiosity

Lean into the conversation from a place of curiosity and respect (for yourself and the other person). 

Even when the subject of the conversation is difficult, the interaction can remain mutually supportive. Respect the other person’s point of view, and expect them to respect yours.

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Listen and observe

Listen and observe
Focus on what you’re hearing, not what you’re saying. Genuine attention and neutrality encourage people to elaborate.

You don’t actually need to talk that much during a difficult conversation. Instead, learn to listen, reflect and observe.

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Be direct

Be direct

Address uncomfortable situations head-on by getting right to the point.

Foster an honest and respectful discussion and make sure both parties speak about the details of an issue. 

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Don’t put it off

Don’t put it off

Don't put off a conversation for some ideal future time, when it can be more easily dealt with.

Take some time to cool down and plan the general outline of the outcome you desire. But then have the conversation, and make a plan to move on. 

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Expect a positive outcome

Expect a positive outcome

Focus on the long-term gains that the conversation will create and you will shift your inner dialogue to a more constructive place. 

This will build your confidence to approach the coworker who constantly criticizes and complains or the subordinate who keeps underperforming.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Emotions During a Difficult Conversation

It’s hard not to get worked up emotionally when you’re in a tense conversation: a disagreement can feel like a threat.

But if your body goes into “fight or flight” mode,  ...

Breathe

When you start noticing yourself getting tense, try to focus on breathing (on feeling the air coming in and out of your lungs).

This will take your attention off the physical signs of panic and keep you centered.

Focus on your body

Sitting still when you’re having a difficult conversation can make the emotions build up rather than dissipate. 

Standing up and walking around helps to activate the thinking part of your brain.

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Let People Talk First

Let others to talk about themselves first. Then, you’ll be able to sell yourself more naturally.

If they are interested in what you have to offer, you can naturally transition into a p...

Ask Good Questions That Show You’re Engaged

Ask at least one question before changing topic to show you’re engaged. Gathering details makes it more likely that you’ll be able to establish a connection with the other person or find a way you can lend a hand.

Prepare For A Conversation Without Being Creepy

Take a look at the person’s LinkedIn or Twitter account to get an idea of his tone, interests, etc. You’re always at an advantage when you know more about a person. It will be easier to relate to him and you might avoid awkward conversations.

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...

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.

Give equal measures of positive and negative feedback. We usually gloss over the strengths, but focus in great detail on the critical feedback. Add examples and details to your positive feedback.

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.