Expertly prepare for difficult conversations

How do I say it right as a leader? 3 survival strategies!

In meiner Führungskräfteakademie „Akademie 120zu80“ vermitteln wir genau jene Fertigkeiten die Sie benötigen, um in diesen Situationen zu bestehen und Sie erhalten Tools, Tipps und Lösungsoptionen. Werfen Sie vor allem einen Blick auf unsere Falllberatungen gleich here.

Jetzt aber zu den 3 Strategien: Schwierige Botschaften richtig zu vermitteln oder auch Gespräche mit schwierigen Personen zu führen stellen Führungskräfte immer wieder vor Herausforderungen. Hier sind 3 Überlebensstrategien, um das nächste Gespräch erfolgreich zu meistern:

Preparation is everything!

The question of success is at the beginning of every preparation: what do I want to achieve from this conversation? Ideally, you should not have more than one to three goals, otherwise you run the risk of not being able to successfully implement any of them.

In addition to the goal of the conversation, it is important to consider how you can best achieve it: what documents are needed? What information can you provide in advance?

Limit your own talking, give the other person the opportunity to react, and adapt further conversation tactics to their reaction:

We all only have a certain spectrum of being able to absorb and process information. The amount of information and the speed in which it is conveyed are decisive factors when it comes to a successful conversation.

With difficult messages, for example, you can proceed like this:

You: “Unfortunately, I have a serious matter to discuss with you.”

Wait for the other person’s reaction, then continue with the question: “Why is it happening?”

You, again: “There was an incident with a customer I would like to speak to you about. She has complained very specifically in writing and is even threatening further action.”

Again, wait for their reaction and only then continue the conversation. In this way, you ensure that all messages have really been portrayed, you can immediately clarify if what was said was not sufficiently understood, and you steer specifically – from message to message – towards the goal of the conversation. Here, for example, “I want to hear your point of view and give you a fair chance to explain yourself.”

If the situation threatens to slip away:

Conversations quickly slip away when emotions come into play, when rhetorical tricks are revealed, or when basic rules of interaction are not adhered to. It is therefore important to point out at the beginning of the conversation that respectful behaviour is expected. If things get too heated, you can refer to what was said at the beginning and call for order. If that doesn’t help, you can briefly pause the meeting, for example with the words: “Personally, I believe that the atmosphere is already too heated. I suggest that we pause for a few minutes and get some fresh air. Maybe someone would like another drink, and we’ll continue when things have calmed down a bit.” However, sometimes you may have to postpone a conversation. Use the time for conversations in smaller groups, for feedback or training with a conversation coach.

In principle, it is important not to walk into a difficult conversation unprepared. Careful planning, selection of the setting, preparation of the agenda, preliminary discussions, and your own preparation for possible questions and answers help to master challenging situations well.

Ein Tipp noch zum Schluss: Gerne blockieren sich Führungskräfte durch Lösungen, oder Szenarien, die sie vorher schon entwickelt haben. Gehen Sie mit Fragen und Interesse in erste Meetings um Hintergründe zu erfragen und Fakten zu klären. Daraus ergeben sich oft schon ganz andere Lösungsmöglichkeiten!