Keely Wilkinson from the Evidence Based Practice Team talks us through what we can do to make difficult conversations easier, and work towards their resolution.

From time to time we will all need to have difficult conversations. It might be with someone in prison or on probation, or it might be with a colleague. We might have to turn down a request, resolve a conflict, speak to someone about problematic behaviour or tackle a sensitive subject.

These conversations can feel challenging for lots of reasons. You might feel there is a power imbalance between yourself and the other person. Perhaps it’s something you’ve tried to resolve before without success, or you might not know where to begin to solve the problem. We might feel that the other person is purposively behaving in a way that causes the issue, or there may be cultural barriers that stop the problem being understood.

If we avoid having difficult conversations the problem is very unlikely to go away and may well become worse. Often, conversations we believe will be challenging turn out to be much easier in practice. Usually, being able to resolve the issue can make the discomfort of having the conversation worthwhile.

Here are our top three evidence informed tips to make these conversations feel less challenging and more likely to succeed:

1. Prepare and Rehearse.

2. Connect and Resolve.

3. Allow time to regroup and reflect.

This short (9 minute) video that explains these steps in more detail. Please feel free to share this with others who may find it useful: