How to to begin a difficult conversation

Delivering bad news and managing conflict with co-workers, executives and clients is never enjoyable. Try these starters to open up a dialogue.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Despite having read “Crucial Conversations” (McGraw-Hill) more than once and attending countless presentations on delivering bad news and managing conflict, I’ve never been very skilled in this area. I dread these types of personal interactions, and I’m ashamed to admit that I do what I can to get out of them—at home and at work.

But recently I was in a situation where I could no longer avoid a difficult conversation. So I did what many other writers, PR pros and corporate communicators would do: I treated the conversation as a writing assignment. What started out as a blog post about everything that I wanted to cover turned into a script where I could role-play the entire conversation.

What I discovered was that the act of writing a script helped clarify my thoughts and find the right words for the conversation. It was truly an “Aha!” moment when the solution to this long-standing problem suddenly became clear and obvious.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.