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Difficult Conversations in Life, Business & BNI

by Richard Foulkes

Difficult Conversations in Life, Business & BNI

  • Who has ever waited too long to have a conversation you should have had much earlier? Perhaps it was with a family member, employee, supplier or a BNI member?
  • What was the result?
  • Was it better because you waited?
  • Only sometimes issues go away if you ignore them. Mostly they just grow in size.
  • Possibly the consequences of waiting were worse than the initial problem!

    BNI Networking Education - Difficult Conversation (2)

Being a Grown Up and a Business Person (especially a Business Owner) means…

  • The more proactive you are and the better you get at having difficult conversations, the easier your life and the better your business will be.

What are some of the reasons to proactively have difficult conversations?

  • Your understanding of the issue may be wrong
  • It stops the issue getting worse
  • Resolving issues allows you to move forward
  • Discussing them is never worse than you imagine it could be

How can we initiate and structure a difficult conversation?

  • Identify the issue(s) as clearly as you can.
  • Work out the best and worst outcomes you can envisage and what they would mean to you, so you are prepared for what happens next.
  • Talk to peers/supporters/associates/advisers to help you with this. Focus especially on what you will gain from solving the issue.
  • Talk to the other person about when you can meet to discuss the issue. This is usually the hardest thing to do!
  • Use opening statements like “I’d like to meet to give you feedback about … “or “I feel we need to discuss …” Usually the other person is expecting the call!
  • Set the meeting time and date. Be sure to make sure you follow sensible and ethical protocols at all times.
  • Keep the meeting to the facts as much as possible to keep emotions down.
  • Avoid saying things like “you are always…” or “you never…..” absolute statements like that are never totally correct and will only anger the other person.
  • The more you have of these kind of conversations, the easier they become and the greater the outcomes are for everyone.

Suggested action for this week:

  • Make a note of any difficult conversations you need to have
  • Pick a relatively easy one to start with
  • Follow the steps
  • Have the discussion

Report back to the meeting next week about how it went – was it worse or better than you thought?

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