The quality of your life is based on how many difficult conversations you are willing to have.
The less you have, the harder your life will be.
You can run and hide from them… but they’re going to catch up and show up in your life.
Difficult conversations are a “necessary evil” if you have any interest at all in reaching a higher level of performance in life.
I know this on a personal level. I used to run away from difficult conversations.
I’m telling you this because I wish someone told me that I was running away from my future success and self-development.
I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did.
So let me give you 6 tips to handle difficult conversations like a pro so that you can grow from them.
- Ask for feedback. Find someone who you trust and respect and ask them for direct and brutally honest feedback. And when you get this feedback, just listen. Don’t wait to defend yourself, just listen. Some of my greatest growth has come by asking others to have a difficult conversation with me.
Now, when it’s your turn to have a difficult conversation with someone, use these tips…
- Plan Ahead
DON’T EVER wing a difficult conversation. It will get messy and nasty really fast. To avoid this, you need to come prepared. Think ahead about what the other person will say, ask, or react.
Going in prepared helps you stay in control and even-tempered throughout the conversation.
- Be Direct
Cut the B.S. and get to the point. This is not the time to flatter them or beat around the bush.
I used to think I could do this and let them down easy, but it made things worse.
The person you’re having this conversation with would rather you be blunt.
They usually know feedback is about to come their way, so be respectful and be direct.
- Give Specific Feedback
Be crystal clear with your feedback. Being abstract and vague makes it harder for people to get better.
If you’re able to clearly give a specific example of what went wrong and what they can do to get better – that’s going to help them a LOT.
This shows the person you’re talking to that you care about them. It also shows what they need to fix.
- Be Empathetic
Your delivery needs to be stoic, but you need to be empathetic.
Some people are not used to confrontation or feedback, so hearing it from you can be a punch in the gut.
Let them digest and process what you said.
And let them know that what you’re delivering isn’t to belittle them, but to help them be better, so they can succeed.
- Ask for clarifying questions
9 out of 10 times after a difficult conversation there will be questions. Let them ask. In fact encourage by asking: “Do you have any clarifying questions that you want to ask?”
So be prepared to give clear cut answers.
There you have it…
In life, we need people to give us brutally honest feedback and we need to give others the same.
Difficult conversations are the seed of growth in all areas of life.
Most people will avoid them at all costs, which is why they will also live lives of mediocrity and regret.
But those of us who lean into difficult conversations will continue to grow, evolve, and reach our fullest potential.
PS. If you’re like me and you’re passionate about personal and professional development at the highest level then check out this opportunity to work with me.