This week’s blog comes courtesy of our friends at Make Happy.

We’ve all been there, that moment of hesitation before approaching a colleague with feedback, or that uncomfortable feeling when discussing complex issues at work.

We often choose to delay or sidestep these conversations. But, when we do, we miss opportunities for growth and let issues linger unresolved.

So, let’s make a change in 2024! Here are some ideas on how to transform your uncomfortable conversations into respectful, productive dialogues.

Decide what you want to achieve

Before diving into a conversation, take a moment to evaluate your goals.

Are you aiming purely ‘to be right’ or to dishearten the other party? If so, it might be time to reassess.

Focus on your purpose for the conversation and strive to achieve it, even if it means compromising your ‘rightness’. It’s not about winning or losing, but about effective discussion and mutual understanding.

Reframe your thoughts

Navigating challenging conversations can feel daunting. But what if we told you that just a simple shift in your thought process could transform these encounters?

Instead of envisioning the worst-case scenario, imagine the future benefits that could come from the discussion. Don’t say to yourself “this is going to be really difficult”, try to say “this is going to be really useful”.

This simple technique can significantly reduce your stress and enable a more constructive conversation.

Next time you face a difficult discussion, give this strategy a try. It could be the key to unlocking more productive dialogues in your life.

Choose your moment

Choosing the right moment for a tricky conversation is a balancing act.

On one hand, avoiding or delaying difficult conversations can hurt your relationships and create negative outcomes.

You might think “I’ll bring it up next time” or “it doesn’t really matter”. Then you miss the opportunity to resolve the issue and move on.

On the other hand, if you choose a time when the other person is stressed, under pressure or exhausted, the discussion is unlikely to go well.

Find a time when you can speak one on one, avoid busy times and don’t leave it to the end of the day when both of you are likely to be at a low ebb.

Pay attention to your body language

The cornerstone of good conversation is your body language. Embody positivity, not only to enhance your conversations but also to transform your mindset. When engaging with others:

  • practice an open stance, a gesture of receptivity
  • maintain eye contact to show interest and connection
  • use affirmative gestures and nod in agreement, a sign of understanding
  • smile when it feels right, demonstrating goodwill
  • lean in slightly when others speak, a subtle sign of curiosity and engagement

These simple yet impactful changes in your body language can revolutionise your interactions, making them more meaningful and effective.

Want to know more about difficult conversations training?

Make Happy have a range of workshops, training and programmes to help you have better conversations at work. Some of these include:

Psychological Safety Training

Difficult Conversations Training

Lego Serious Play Workshops

Get in touch with Make Happy to find out more by clicking here.