Have a Productive Conversation

You’re now ready to have a constructive discussion. Your goal is to work with your counterpart to better understand “the underlying causes of the problem and what you can do to solve it together,” says Jeanne Brett.

First, frame the discussion so that you and your counterpart start off on the right foot. Then there are three things you’ll do simultaneously as the conversation flows: Manage your emotions, listen well, and be heard.

When you sit down with your counterpart, don’t be overly wedded to the information you’ve gathered in advance. Be flexible. “You don’t want to be so prepared that you anticipate a particular reaction and you’re not able to take in what’s actually happening,” says Amy Jen Su. ...

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