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Dealing with Difficult Discussions

Where are you when your best ideas come to you?

If you are like 90% of all people you get your best ideas when driving, in the shower, in the morning, when falling to sleep or when working out. Notice what is absent… the office. Your best ideas don’t come to you at work!

They come to you when your mind is most open, free from clutter and your subconscious voice can be heard. Yet when we think about negotiations and difficult discussions we usually tackle solving them at the office where our communication skills can be the most limited. We, in effect, limit our solutions by limiting our thinking.

So what how can you use this to help you when you have to a difficult discussion?

First, take time to separate your self from the person, problem and the situation. You will find at work your mind will remain cluttered with all that surrounds it and you will have a hard time being fair and just.

Second, take a walk, listen to music, work out or just write out the problem and then take a break from it. What you are really doing is letting your subconscious mind take over and try to solve the problem.

Third, look at the problem ONLY from the other person’s perspective. Try to think about what they may be trying to protect and why. Try to help them POSITIVELY reach their goal while getting to a resolution you both can live with.

Fourth, realize that in order to have a healthy discussion with a person you need to create a safe environment for them. Now by safe, I don’t mean a conference room that is private and tucked away. By safe, I mean an atmosphere between the two of you that allows for candid yet nonjudgmental discussion. In our Outcome Focus ProGOtiations we teach you exactly how to create that space in how you THINK, LISTEN and SPEAK so the other person wants to listen to you.

If you know that you do not have that environment with the other person you need to admit that or you will come off as self-serving, condescending or patronizing during the discussion and you will do more damage and good.

Saying something like, “I know we don’t see eye to eye and it may seem that I don’t support your approach to our project. As I look at it I realized that I need to know the thinking behind the approach in order to support it. When I question you on your approach I must do it in a way that feels attacking or judgmental as I can sense you becoming defensive. So share with me how I can better ask questions, interact and probe with you so we ensure the direction we are going is the correct one.”

Now you have created a safe environment for candid discussion.


As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time.  The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives.  Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results!  Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit  www.impressionmanagement.com,  or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .