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7 Tips to Discuss Difficult Topics Gracefully

At times, you may have to have difficult conversations with clients, suppliers, or your team, but there are strategies you can use to set the conversation up for success. Being prepared to guide the conversation can keep it productive and keep you in control. Whether you have to deliver unpleasant news or ask tough questions, use these tips to gracefully handle the conversation and keep moving forward.

Hope Dorman

OCTOBER 1, 2020
coffee

SET UP A TIME TO SPEAK

Outsourcing your marketing can save you time, allow you to benefit from the resources the provider uses, and can put your marketing in accordance with best practices.

GET FACE TIME

Nonverbal communication, like body language and facial expressions, can convey a lot of meaning and soften the blow of difficult conversations. Whenever possible, meet in person or use a video chat program. Houzz Pro enables you to host and schedule video meetings to help facilitate communication.

WRITE A SCRIPT

It may feel awkward at first, but writing a script can allow you to more smoothly handle the conversation by being prepared. Practice before you meet so you can maintain eye contact during the discussion.

SHARE OR ASK FOR NEXT STEPS

If the problem you’re communicating about has been solved, lead with that. If the issue you’re discussing has not yet been resolved, share your plan or ask for the next steps to end the conversation on a productive note.

WATCH YOUR TONE

The tone of voice used makes a big impact on how messages are received. The specific topic of discussion will dictate the right tone, but in general, speak gently but firmly to instill confidence and head off negative reactions.

SHOW EMPATHY

To overcome a difficult discussion or disagreement, communicate that you can appreciate or understand the other person’s experience in this scenario. Reassurance can diffuse an argument.

KEEP THE CONVERSATION PRODUCTIVE

If someone in the discussion starts to raise their voice or communicates inappropriately, use the phrase, “I’d like to keep the conversation productive,” to try to steer the conversation back.

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Hope Dorman is a Content Marketing Senior Associate based in Orange County, California. She loves timeless design, creative space solutions, and getting inspiration from Houzz to keep crafting her home.

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