3 Tips for Starting a Difficult Conversation

by Jacqui Brauman

3 Tips for Starting a Difficult Conversation

by Jacqui Brauman

by Jacqui Brauman

You might want to start a difficult conversation to try to approach someone before something turns into a full-on dispute. You may want to try and nip something in the bud, or you want to approach someone about inviting them to try and do dispute resolution.

Know your triggers

Firstly, know yourself, and know your triggers. 

If you’re going to get into a difficult conversation, know your own buttons so that if someone presses a button, whether purposely or not, you’re not just going to react. 

You’re going to go, “Okay, that’s triggered me. I recognize it. I’m not going to react right now. I understand that it triggers me.” Deal with the emotions it caused later.

Don’t corner them

Second tip; don’t corner them when you’re going to have a difficult conversation. 

You don’t like being cornered yourself. So why not actually approach someone first and say, “This thing, I think we need to talk about it. When can we do that?” Or, “Can we talk about it in an hour?” Or, “Can I pull you aside soon to talk about this?”

Better to give them a little bit more time to think about it than going, “Can I pull you aside now?” Or launching straight in, blind-siding them.

Feel the vibe

And then the third tip is if you’re having a difficult conversation, feel the vibe of how the difficult conversation is going.

Women, particularly with our increased intuition or emotional intelligence, quite often feel a vibe. Don’t dismiss it. If it’s not going well and you feel that vibe, you’re probably feeling the emotional response of the other person. If it’s not going well, don’t push on. Find a way to end the conversation and to revisit it later. 

Before starting the difficult conversation, think about how to end things and continue the conversation at a different time if the vibe is not good.

You might want to come in prepared to, say, “Look, it might not actually be the right time at the moment to go into that. Let’s talk about that tomorrow,” or “Let’s go and do this little bit of research and come back in the next couple of days,” or have something similar ready.


So there’s your three tips for starting a difficult conversation are: 

  1. Know what triggers you, so you don’t have an automatic emotional reaction that you’re not in control of. 
  2. Second, don’t corner them. You don’t like being cornered; actually approach them and set-up when to have this difficult conversation. 
  3. And the third one is feel the vibe during the conversation and have some kind of pre-prepared thing that you can then put the conversation off to another time.

In our community for Legally Wise Women, there’s plenty more tips to learn how to negotiate to get what you want.

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