According to Steve Wheeler, a blog writer for Remodelers Advantage, if remodelers have difficult conversations, and have a lot of them, they will be more likely to succeed in business. This is because having a direct conversation addresses an issue before it "will fester and swell to an uncontrollable level." Wheeler offers four steps to approaching a difficult conversation to make it just a bit easier.
- Take a Deep Breath - Depending on the situation, don't respond immediately. Make sure you are mentally ready to have the conversation and set up a time to talk to your colleague face-to-face about the problem. Overestimate the amount of time you need to make sure neither one of you feels the added pressure of needing to finish quickly. "Stay away from email," Wheeler advises. "Email is a delayed, one-sided conversation that cannot convey emotion or tone. Words can become misleading and can derail any progress moving forward."
- Listen Up - You don't know what your colleague is going through. The problem may seem like a big deal to you, but in their world it might rank below what's going on in their personal or work lives. Let them talk and really listen to what they're saying. "Make a concerted effort to understand and acknowledge their point," Wheeler says.
- Don't Daydream - It's easy to dream up different scenarios for how a difficult conversation will go. Putting labels and expectations on those conversations will just make them harder. "Strip away the layers and view the issue for what it is in the present moment and stay away from attaching it to the past or the future," Wheeler says.
- Be Trusting - Make sure you're establishing a foundation of trust and honesty in your company. This foundation "will streamline your interactions with people and will eliminate future road blocks."