5 Steps To Giving Difficult Information

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I don’t think anyone really likes confrontation, which is the reason we hate telling people they did something wrong.  We want people to like us and get along with each other.  Following the steps below will allow you to stay focused, remove the confrontation, and get others to maybe even thank you.

1. Pre plan.  Know the objective of the conversation.  You need to stay focused so you don’t get taken off topic.

2. Describe the behavior.  Limit the conversation to the behavior that needs to be changed. Don’t make this about personalities or other things you may not like.  Stay focused on the specific behavior that needs to be addressed.

3. Ask questions. Rather than guess why the behavior happened, ask.  This will prevent further misunderstandings and often times getting the person to verbal state why they did something will get them to realize why they need to stop the behavior.

4. Use “I” statements.  If you are addressing how you feel about the behavior or the results of the behavior, use the word “I” as opposed to “you” in statements. This will prevent the person from feeling like they are being attacked.

5. Let them save face when possible. If the person knows what they did was wrong and you believe it won’t happen again after you address the situation, make it easy for the person to save face.  This may mean you need to admit to not being clear or giving them an out. Most people will be thankful for it and do whatever they can to not disappoint you in the future.

Following these five steps will save you a lot of stress and prevent unnecessary confrontation when you find you need to discuss an issue with someone.

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