How to Master Tough Conversations

and get the best possible result

Most conversations are easy. We tell each other things, ask questions and get answers. And that’s about it. But now for the bad news.

Some conversations aren’t easy at all. They’re hard. They’re hard work and can be stressful, frustrating and upsetting. They’re tough. And can be tough to think about having let alone actually have.

We’d rather not have them. But we have to. It’s our job. It’s our duty. And sometimes it’s simply the right thing to do.

When we have them, we want to get the best result we possibly can. And the best result is when:

1) They run smoothly.  You are what I call Diplomatically Assertive and display outstanding interpersonal communication skills. You are clear and say what needs to be said – no more, no less. You are firm, fair and reasonable.

2) You ‘look good’.  Look good? Yes. You are able to hold our head high because you did ‘the right thing’ at the right time. You had the conversation when you should have and didn’t put it off unnecessarily.

3) You look after the person’s well-being as well as our own.  If the person gets angry or upset, you help them retain their composure. If appropriate, you help them get support and you check on them later. You also help yourself retain composure and you get help if needed.

4) The person does what you want them to do. You have a Tough Conversation because you want the person to do something specific. For example, you want them make a decision, complete a piece of work, perhaps in their case of your teenager, tidy their room, or to behave in a certain way from now on.

5) There are no unwanted consequences. For example, your relationships are damaged or the person holds a grudge. You need to foresee these possibilities and do what you can to make sure they don’t happen or, if they do happen, to lessen their impact.

So if you, your colleagues or your staff have to …

  • Conduct a performance review and you want the person to listen, and I mean really listen;
  • Pull someone into line and tell them to ‘lift their game’ but not alienate them;
  • Handle an annoying customer but at the same time, deliver great customer service;
  • Talk to someone about their personal hygiene;
  • Deliver some bad news;
  • Speak to a manager about an unreasonable workload or a perceived injustice;
  • Say no to sexual harassment;
  • Deal with someone who interrupts, criticises or mocks;
  • Lay down the law and tell someone they’re treading on thin ice;
  • Tell someone you find their comments unacceptable and you want them to ‘stop’;
  • ….

.…  then you’ve come to the right place.


  1. Book a day and time to have a chat or or send me a message.
  2. Read a little more and watch a short video on how to Speak Up and say what needs to be said.
  3. Read a little more and watch a short video on how to Help an Employee Improve their behaviour or their performance.
  4. Have a look at a short video below on How I help you Master Tough Conversations.

See how Mark can help you

Deal With Difficult People

because sometimes people don’t do ‘the right thing’ and you need to do something about it

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Have staff work together in harmony

because for some people it simply doesn’t come naturally

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