Managing Difficult Conversations

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Successfully prepare for and manage difficult conversations in a way that produces positive outcomes for all parties involved.

Difficult conversations are sometimes easier to avoid because of the uncertainty involved in how to confidently lead a difficult conversation.

Whether informing a client the project is late and over budget, or presiding over an unsatisfactory performance review -- difficult conversations are inevitable and necessary. In fact, difficult conversations appear in all domains of life: work relationships, leadership roles, and personal relationships.

Understanding how to have a difficult conversation is a core competency for organizational and personal success. These conversations provide the opportunity to create new, effective ways to attain goals and enhance relationships.

During this interactive workshop, participants will practice strategies for confidently managing, and having, difficult conversations. Participants will be provided with the opportunity to apply these skills in real-time by working through simulated difficult conversations with other participants. This experiential learning approach will build confidence and preparation.

Key Learning Outcomes

  • Explore why some conversations are more difficult than others
  • Review and apply the three-phase conversations model
  • Practice techniques to prepare for a difficult conversation
  • Assess and apply the seven-step process for successfully engaging in a courageous conversation
  • Discuss the importance of communication and coaching tools such as inquiry, listening, paraphrasing, reframing, and acknowledging
  • Realize the impact of assertive messaging and language
  • Study the role of emotions and how to manage them during a difficult conversation
  • Consider methods for building a culture of accountability
  • Use the difficult conversation for follow-up development

Past Participants Said:

"Common sense is key in dealing with difficult conversations but having the right tools to use and build on will help with mastering the art of dealing with difficult situations. This seminar provided the correct tools to build on." - Brad Cole, Pennecon Limited

"This seminar was so helpful for me. I really hope to continue with more training in these areas of professional development."

"The instructor was excellent. Very knowledgeable and easy to talk to, made a difficult topic more comfortable to discuss."

"Lynn did an excellent job on facilitating conversation, keeping participants, and providing useful insight pertinent to discussion." - Sheldon Forley, Vigilant Management

This is a module in the Influence, Negotiation, and Conflict Management Program.

Continuing Education Contact Hours: 7


IABC Logos

This course qualifies as credits toward the International Association of Business Communicators' (IABC) professional certifications.

When applying to sit for either the exam for Communications Management Professional (CMP)(R) or Strategic Communication Management Professional (SCMP)(R) or to apply for recertification, Gardiner Centre courses can be an integral part of your application package.

To learn more about this global standard certification, visit: To inquire about sitting for a certification exam, contact the local IABC NL chapter at, or visit:

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