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7 Step Framework For Dealing With Difficult Conversations. It Will Help You Give Feedback With Ease

Once you have identified that a relationship is making you unhappy, the next step is to do something about it! This may require you to have a conversation with someone that could be challenging for you. Try Susan Scott's Seven Step framework that starts a conversation in a clear way and demonstrates that both of you are accountable for the issue to be discussed (from her book Fierce Conversations).

The Main Tip Your opening should last 60 seconds and no more. Once you have said your piece, stay quiet and listen. Even if there is silence you need to stay quiet to allow the other person to process what you have said. You could also write what you want to say and practice by saying it aloud.

Note: Any change in behaviour takes time.


  1. Name the issue. A problem named is a problem solved. Name the problem behaviour and how it impacts you. If there are a number of issues, name the theme.

  2. Give an example for illustration. Be succinct - this is important for credibility.

  3. Describe your emotions about the issue. This is deeply personal and you are letting the other person know that you are affected.

  4. Clarify what is at stake. This is super important to articulate. It might be something at stake for them, you or the team. Use the words such as 'at stake' as this has an impact.

  5. Identify your contribution to the problem. No long confession but an acknowledgment that you are willing to be open and vulnerable too.

  6. Indicate your wish to resolve the issue. Use the word resolve. You are keen to make it work and contribute where needed. You are primarily stating the issue and it communicates good intent on your part.

  7. Invite the other person to respond. There has been no dramatic confrontation or attack and you are have been clear about the reality of the situation. Even if they don't accept your invitation, they know exactly what the issue is and what is at stake. Offer to speak again once they had a chance to reflect and this was something they didn't expect.

I hope this helps. If you would like to discuss further, please book a coffee call with me.

Best wishes


Two men sitting at a table and talking
Difficult Conversation 7 Step Framework

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