Managing Challenging Conversations

Navigate challenging conversations effectively in our 6-hour workshop. Develop planning, communication, and post-conversation strategies. Enhance skills to manage diverse workplace dialogues.

  • Audience

    This course covers how to prepare yourself in advance of the conversation, as well as specific techniques of building rapport, active listening, using positive language and managing emotional reactions.


    No pre-requisites required


    6 hours

    Delivery Method

    Face to face or Virtual
  • Course Objectives

    At the end of this course delegates will be able to:

    • Identify different types of challenging conversations
    • Plan and prepare for the challenging conversation
    • Effectively structure the conversation
    • Understand how their own approach to the conversation can affect others
    • Apply effective communication skills during the conversation
    • Plan and monitor what will happen after the challenging conversation

    Course Outline

    • What might lead to a challenging conversation?
      • Change, restructuring
      • Poor performance
      • Misconduct
      • Attendance or wellbeing issues
      • Customer or stakeholder dissatisfaction
    • Planning and preparing for the conversation, including:
      • Identifying the issue
      • Identifying the outcome you want to achieve
      • Starting the conversation with positive intent
      • Anticipated reactions – and how to respond to them
    • Structuring the conversation – approaches may include:
      • CEDAR (context, examples, diagnosis, actions, review)
      • AEIOU (acknowledge, express, identify, outcome, understanding)
      • AID (actions, impact, desired outcome)
      • SARAH (shock, anger, rejection, acceptance, hope)
    • Managing your own impact – voice (tone, volume, pitch), facial expression, body language, rapport building.
    • Communication skills:
      • Empathic and attentive listening
      • Asking the right questions
      • Clarifying and summarising
    • Planning and monitoring:
      • Developing the action plan
      • Confirming the action plan
      • Monitoring its implementation
    • Practice session – holding a challenging conversation:
      • Participants to practice their skills by holding a challenging conversation they are likely to have in the workplace.
      • Either another delegate or (ideally) an actor to take the part of the other person in the conversation.
      • Feedback on what worked well and what to improve.