So you want to have one of those conversations where it just might get a bit awkward. … if you let it.
Perhaps you want to talk to a team member who isn’t pulling their weight, or give a colleague some critical feedback they may not expect. Do you need to critique a colleague’s work or talk to a co-worker who is behaving offensively? Does someone have a personal hygiene problem and unaware of it? Is there a need to approach your boss to confront an ongoing issue in the team. There are numerous examples of when it may be necessary to have “a TALK”.
You can never fully predict how the other person might respond, but at least you can prepare for it and have a few options for reply. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started! What to say first? What will be the first words to initiate the topic without getting off on the wrong foot?
Those tricky conversations have the potential to go wrong, and preparation is key in avoiding unnecessary conflict. Firstly, take time to carefully consider the reason WHY you are raising the topic. (here’s a hint – “just because it annoys me” is not a good enough reason) A clear goal will help determine what outcome you desire before you get started – on the right foot. With that in mind, consider how you might structure the conversation.
There are many skills to consider in framing the conversation to get the best result, however one suggestion is to utilise our SPARK model which will help to keep focused and guide the conversation.
S – is for ‘Set’ the scene. Why do you want to talk to them? What’s the reason for this conversation? “I wanted to have chat with you Nicky because I am concerned about where we are with the project. There doesn’t seem to be much progress”
P – ‘Probe’ to understand their viewpoint. Its always a good idea to start by asking what they see the issue being. Ask questions and listen to what they have to say. “So Nicky… what’s your understanding of where we are?” (What happened? .. Why do you think that is? .. What is your suggestion for changing things?…)
A – ‘Assert’ your position. If you need to make your point heard be clear on what you want to get out of it. “I need…” “I expect…” “OK Nicky I understand what you are saying, however I need this to happen by 15th”.. Perhaps there is even some common ground with what you BOTH want to achieve. “I agree with you that this needs to change”
R – ‘Review’ the discussion and what is agree. Don’t let it end with it hanging or not understanding what needs to happen next. “So what have we agreed we will do from now in?”
K – ‘Keep’ on track. Follow up if necessary and check progress.
A good suggestion is to rehearse your introduction out loud to see how it sounds. Keep it honest. Keep it real and keep an open mind.
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