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At the workplace, each of us has to interact with many different people. This includes colleagues, subordinates, team leaders, clients, and so on. Due to the close interaction between people, conflicts at work are basically inevitable. Conflicts, in their turn, may lead to a variety of hard talks. What are those and how to handle them? In this article, you will find the answers!

two women sitting on leather chairs in front of table

4 Common Types of Hard Talks Facing Us at Work

Probably the first thing that pops up in our mind when we think of hard talks at work is firing someone. Indeed, initiating a conversation that will inevitably lead to someone losing his or her job can be a real roadblock. Thus, it is generally considered that firing someone is the hardest type of hard talk.

Another issue facing leaders at the workplace is the necessity to refuse someone in getting a promotion or raise. Typically, when someone does their best to earn a promotion, it can be very challenging to let them know they failed. So this is another common type.

Disciplining poor performance or handling employees feuding is also uneasy. Unfortunately, conflicts within a team are neither new or rare. Sometimes, the tension in relationships between employees can go too far and even lead to poor performance. That’s when leaders must break the silence. However, handling such situations is also difficult.

Finally, the last common type of hard talk is when you have to make unflattering remarks about one’s performance in front of the rest of the team. Initiating and overcoming such conversations is not easy on its own, and it gets even more unpleasant when you can’t do it in private.

Top 6 Tips to Make Hard Talks Less Stressful

Of course, these are not all types of hard talks you may face at the workplace. When you work in a large team, conflicts, unflattering remarks, and all these kinds of things are simply inevitable. However, though you can’t avoid these conversations completely, you can undertake certain steps to at least make them easier.

How to ease the stress of hard talks? This guide below will help you find the best tactics to handle such unpleasant situations and keep your conversations as productive and painless as possible:

Watch Your Language

Being a professional writing service, here at Essay Pro we know how much the words matter. Often, it is not the message itself, but rather the way it has been delivered that hits us more. Therefore, one of the first tips we’d like to give you is to be careful with your language. The better you pick the words, the easier and more impactful the talk will be.

Have a Plan

When you know that what you have to say is rather unflattering, it is always good to plan things out in advance. Unless you are a great and experienced orator, don’t expect a hard talk flow well by default. Thus, it is vital to plan what you are going to say in advance. When you are prepared, you will be able to deliver the message clearly.

Be Specific

When you are expecting a harsh conversation and are not quite sure how to handle it, it can be tempting to beat around the bush. However, that’s one of the worst mistakes you can make! The main rule to help you overcome any unpleasant conversation is to be as specific and honest as possible.

If you can’t fully clarify the purpose of the conversation, it will get even more confusing and complicated for each side. Therefore, be sure to stay as concrete as possible. After all, the more clear you will be, the better the employee will perceive the critique.

two men talking

Keep It Straight to the Point

Our next tip is closely linked to the previous one. When providing feedback about someone’s work, it is crucial to get to the point quickly. Some less experienced leaders make one common mistake – they use different tactics to veil the main point of the conversation. They approach the topic from something unconnected. This way, the impact lessens and it can be easy for the opponent to misunderstand you.

Instead, you should be very direct. It may first feel that getting to the point quickly makes the talk even harsher. However, you should keep in mind that in most cases a person knows that some critique is coming the way. That’s why there is no need to dance around the subject.

Manage Emotions

Of course, a hard talk is never a piece of cake. Due to this reason, it is natural to feel different emotions flow and burst. Your main task is not to let those emotions take control over you. People can often sense the emotional state of their opponent in a conversation. With that being said, if you get too emotional, so will the employee. This can ruin the outcome of the conversation.

Thus, the next tip is to stay alert, cold minded, and keep emotions under control.

Don’t Forget About Empathy

Although we’ve already said how important it is not to let the emotions kick in, it doesn’t mean that you should not be empathetic. When criticizing or firing someone, it is vital to think of how the opponent will feel and give them enough time to process any emotions.

To show empathy, keep an eye on the emotions of the other person. This will let you note if the employee struggles to handle the flow of information. In this case, you will be able to make a pause and let the opponent collect himself.

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