There are some people who have a flair for managing difficult conversations. I’m certainly not one of them. I don’t like conflicts or confrontation.

The ideal situation for me would be, if people just behaved the way they are supposed to and not make odd requests. I know, I know… it’s wishful thinking.

In the corporate world, there’s absolutely no way to avoid having difficult conversations. I don’t like them and I know I could do better.

But there are a few things that I have learned along the way that seem to help me:

  • Don’t even think about having such conversations when you’re angry or upset. You certainly don’t want to have shouting match.
  • But, don’t put off the conversation for too long either. I used to do this a lot but, it just ended up getting worse because the situation just escalates.
  • When you have to say no to something, it’s better to be upfront and say it as quickly as possible. Some people will actually appreciate the quick response vs. waiting to hear the bad news.
  • Play out the conversation in your head, with the worst possible outcome. Write down a few bullet points if you need to. You will be better prepared for what you’re about to face.
  • Be polite but, firm. A confrontation doesn’t always have to be harsh.

In the end, there’s nothing much left to do but bite the bullet and just do it. Good luck!!