Having difficult conversations

Guidelines for sharing your views

  1. Communicate respectfully; one person should speak at a time.

  2. Choose words wisely, make “I” statements rather than “you” statements.

  3. State your observations and views, rather than what someone else has done.

  4. Listen actively for new information and observe the expressions of others.

  5. Focus on the problem; avoid judgement of the other person(s).

  6. Summarise the issues as joint interests that you can solve together, collaborate.

  7. Disclose your feelings, try not to attack, emotion is acceptable, violence is not.

  8. Use neutral language; avoid words and body language of sarcasm, hostility or disgust.

  9. Aim to be on the “same page”, enquire whether you “heard” the same message the speaker intended to “say”.

  10. When conflict is getting in the way of clear communication, call for a break or separate meeting, ask for time out.

Gaye Greenwood