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Mastering Skills to Face Conflict Resolution and Difficult Conversations with Ease

Four people sitting in a circle having a conversation.

Jennifer Gance, ACC Workforce & Community Programs instructorLife is full of difficult conversations. Telling a direct report that they need to improve. Letting a teammate know their comment in a meeting was inappropriate. Everyone disagrees on an issue and a solution is needed ASAP. Maybe it’s expressing boundaries in personal relationships.

These are anxiety-causing, palm-sweating, losing sleep kinds of discussions. But if they’re unavoidable, how do you get through them with grace? The short answer is, Prepare, Engage, then Resolve.

For this blog, let’s take a look at how to prepare for difficult conversations. Being prepared sets the stage to express your point of view with clarity, reduces anxiety and allows you to get a sense of how the conversation may go.

Here are 6 tips to prepare for conflict and difficult conversations:

  1. Get clear on your message: What do you want to say? And most importantly, what are your motives?

  2. Prepare specific examples: Bring objective examples that will help the person understand your point of view. The key here is objective.

  3. Question your feelings: Reflect on how the situation/person made you feel. See what story you are telling yourself and if it is absolutely true.

  4. Test your interpretations from #3: Could you be misunderstanding another’s intentions or do you need to reframe the situation to see a different perspective? This step could completely change the vibe you bring into the conversation.

  5. Let go of expectations: This is easier said than done, but very possible and freeing! Know your desired outcome, but don’t hold on to it.

  6. Have the conversation: Choose the right time and place to have a constructive conversation.

Sometimes you have to face conflict and difficult conversations in the moment and there is no time to prepare. You can get skilled at this with knowledge and practice.

Organizations are looking for people who have mastered these skills and can approach conflict with ease. As you practice these skills, you will notice your professional and personal relationships becoming strengthened and more trustworthy.

Here are 2 courses now offered by WCP that will equip you with the skills organizations are looking for so you can navigate conflict and difficult conversations positively and constructively!

Mastering Conflict Resolution, Difficult Conversations and Assertive Communications

Reinventing Yourself and Using Your Voice for Positive Change