chapter 8 How to have a challenging conversation without breaking connection

Previous chapters have discussed the importance of communicating and connecting in business and the impact your personal presence has on this. In this chapter we'll examine how to focus those skills on the area that nearly every manager we speak to says is the hardest to master — the challenging conversation.

Research and feedback indicates that the main concern managers have about this type of conversation is that, if not handled correctly, it has the potential to break a strong connection in a moment. As a result, managers will typically postpone or avoid having the conversation altogether. If they do initiate the conversation, they usually fail to adequately plan how to manage it or ensure they are in the right mindset for it.

A challenging conversation is one where there is a high likelihood that opinions between the participants will differ and as a result emotions will be triggered.

The following model was developed to help a manager cover all the steps needed for a challenging conversation to achieve a successful outcome, positively impact the mindset of the other person — and maintain connection.

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