Top 10 principles of having a difficult conversation

Having difficult conversations is a something a leader does on a regular basis. This could be with a colleague, student or parent.

This is a checklist that may help you have these conversations which you can easily shy away from.

What is the purpose?

 

DC1 What do you want to achieve with the conversation? Have you got data and evidence?

You must have a purpose so make sure you are prepared

Plan it out. DC2 Plan out how you want the conversation to go. Use the evidence you have collated to help form this plan.
Right place, right time DC3 If this conversation is with a parent, I also check with them it is an appropriate time to speak. Likewise for colleagues, make sure you have enough time for the conversation and will not have to much of an impact on what they will do next.
Listen DC4 Say what you have to say, but listen to what they are saying. Write notes if needed.
Be empathic not sympathetic Dc5 Empathy is understanding and connecting with another’s feelings. It is all about listening not trying to put a silver lining on an issue.
Aim for win-win DC6 You want to come out knowing both parties are happy and can work towards a positive outcome.
Be direct DC7 Know what you want to say and say it. Follow your plan, it is the only way to get the win win outcome you want.
Review DC8 Go back through the main key action points and check everyone is happy with it as a record of what has been covered?
Action DC9-1 Do what you said you would do within the agreed time frame
Follow Up DC9 Make sure you get a chance to go over the action points and how they have resolved.

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