Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Key Tactics in Difficult Discussions

Following are three strategies that can help you to gather facts to deal with the person or the situation.

Active Listening

The first tactic, and possibly the most important, is to listen empathetically. Listen while trying to be sensitive to the various components and levels of the message. Try to listen for the following information:

· Why: Why is the person communicating with me?

· Length: What can the size of the message tell me about the importance of the message to the person?

· Words: Does the person use formal or informal language? Is there impatience?

· Volume and Pace: What emotional pressures can you sense?

Note-taking after a Discussion

A second tactic is to write down your recollection of the discussion that just took place. The notes can be used to support your next communication with the difficult person. Note-taking also gives you the opportunity to plan and organize before the next communication takes place.

Writing Your Communication

Putting your thoughts into writing rather than communicating verbally can have three important benefits:

1. The difficult person cannot interrupt with an objection.

2. It’s easier to provide orderly communication in writing than verbally.

3. There is no body language to shape the outcome, reducing the possibility of mixed messages. However, you must consider your words carefully and be clear.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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