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Workshop Duration

1 day


Broaching difficult subjects with others is often a daunting prospect for many. People sometimes avoid conflict situations where they need to deliver bad news or where they fear that there will be an adverse reaction to an assertive or critical message. Yet few things are as impressive as the ability to discuss difficult issues with honesty, clarity and integrity and to deal in a fair and objective way with the powerful emotions that can arise. This course aims to provide participants with the skills and confidence they need to develop this vital skill-set.

Course Objectives

  • Understand what makes a message difficult or challenging, and the reluctance to deliver it
  • Identify and recognise the barriers to holding difficult conversations
  • Be aware of your personal communication style and recognise counter-productive words and actions
  • Adapt your communication style to motivate others
  • Recognise conflict early and understand what’s driving other’s behaviour
  • Assertive behaviour
  • Use Transactional Analysis to identify more effective communication methods
  • Use the ‘Tough Love’ model to deliver a direct message
  • Learn and apply effective processes and techniques for conducting difficult conversations
  • Start sensitive conversations in ways that invite open and constructive dialogue
  • Design and conduct a process for effectively resolving conflict that also creates a real opportunity to restore and build working relationships
  • Communicate skilfully to avoid misunderstanding and defuse high emotion
  • Maintain control of the conversation process by mastering the techniques necessary for remaining clear and objective, especially where others are seeking to gain control of the conversation

Example Applications

A difficult or challenging conversation is a conversation where you have to manage emotions and information in a sensitive way in order to:

  • Address poor performance or conduct
  • Deal with personal problems
  • Investigate complaints/deal with grievances
  • Comfort or reassure someone – for example, if they are to be made redundant
  • Tackle personality clashes
  • Create mutually satisfying outcomes through collaborative problem-solving

Skills Gained

This training will show you how to prepare for difficult or crucial conversations, how to manage and control the workplace discussion process and how to ensure you are talking to others in as productive a way as possible.  Training will improve your confidence and enhance your knowledge and skills for reducing stress, taking action and tackling difficult conversations effectively.