Life is certainly not the proverbial bed of roses that we would like it to be. Life is great, but it can aslo be difficult and challenging. This is particularly true when we need to face up to what may be the cause of some of our challenges and difficulties in a face to face conversation.

At some point everybody will be forced to have a conversation that they do not want to have, whether it is at work, with a partner, a friend, or a parent or a child. These uncomfortable moments are an unavoidable, obligatory part of life. It is not all doom and gloom, however, as there are many techniques you can employ when preparing for, and enduring, a conversation that you really do not want to be having.

In a working environment one of the best ways to avoid having to have difficult conversations in the first place is for you to always maintain regular contact with the people with whom these problems could potentially arise. Regular, short contacts to confirm small details, or to double-check facts, can really go a long way to avoiding larger issues later on. In many cases it is a lack of sufficient contact and communication in the first instance that leads to the need for more difficult and often more confrontational conversations later on.

A key thing to consider when entering into what you know is going to be a difficult conversation is whether or not this is really the correct time and place for that conversation to be had. Difficult conversations should never be entered into in a heated environment. In this situation it will be almost impossible for anything constructive to come from the exchange as any anger or resentments that are bubbling below the surface will be sure to come out.

If the time and place is right, then the tone also needs to be correct. A difficult conversation will only escalate into something approaching a full-on argument if one person appears to be condescending or unwilling to listen to the other person’s opinion or perspective. It may often be necessary for a somewhat forceful tone to be set, but this needs to be done in a way that emphasis the severity of the point being discussed rather than as any expression of anger.


Not all difficult conversations will be resolved satisfactorily. In fact, a lot of them will deteriorate into arguments. When this happens it is essential that you do not allow your temper to rise along with that of the other person’s. The one who remains calm and focused on the point of the problem will be the one who ultimately relays their message in a clear and sensible way. Even when provoked unfairly in an exchange, count to ten, let it pass, and continue calmly with the matter at hand.

Listen. Even if the person you are speaking to is being unreasonable, do not interrupt and try to talk over them. This will only cause the conversation to go from bad to worse. Be empathetic, show that you understand the other person’s perspective, and don’t treat this exchange as simply your opportunity to tell somebody how things are; that is not a conversation.

Take a deep breath.

Good luck!

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This Post was contributed by Phoenix-training – UK Education Provider.

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