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Communication DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS ARE AN INEVITABLE PART OF BUSINESS. BUT AS UNCOMFORTABLE AS THEY CAN BE, AVOIDING THEM CAN MAKE THE SITUATION EVEN WORSE. By Michele Chiappetta Difficult conversations. None of us particularly enjoys those words. It’s a rare person who looks forward to having a hard discussion, especially in the confines of work. After all, it’s not like we take a class in school on how to tackle tough subjects, though that kind of thing would be tremendously useful in all our relationships. And though tough issues arise time and time again in our lives, most people tend to avoid talking them through. There are several reasons we do so — from negative past experiences and

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feelings of insecurity to being afraid of what we’ll lose and worries that talking won’t help solve things. But the choice to avoid these conversations only guarantees what we’re facing will continue to be a problem, and possibly grow worse the longer we leave the issue undealt with. It pays off to tackle tough conversations. And if you’re a small-business owner or freelancer, knowing some useful ways to handle a difficult conversation is a boon. You’ll appreciate having some skills in

this area whether you’re firing an employee, letting go of a client, addressing big changes in scopes of work, violations of a contract, or any of the many other issues that can arise when you’re dealing with people. Here are some tips from the experts the next time you’re facing a situation that warrants a difficult conversation.

KNOW YOURSELF One of the keys to handling your work relationships better is to understand what drives

you. If discussing issues with a colleague, boss, or client feels hard, ask yourself why. Are you assuming the conversation will be angry and heated? Do you dislike confrontation? Are you afraid being honest will get you fired? Knowing why you feel as you do can help you assess how realistic (or not) your assumptions are, and may open up possible solutions.

CONSIDER THE BIGGER PICTURE Many times, a difficult conversation is even more difficult because there is missing

Profile for Preview 918

November 2019 (Vol. 33, No. 11)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 A regional magazine of national stature, Preview 918 has rema...

November 2019 (Vol. 33, No. 11)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 A regional magazine of national stature, Preview 918 has rema...