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4 Things to Do Before a Tough Conversation

Publish Date: August 12, 2020

What do you want out of the conversation — for you, the other person, and any stakeholders involved? Knowing your goals is a good way to keep the meeting on track if emotions rise. Next, gather facts to support your position. If you’re about to ask for a raise, for example, write down notes on how you’ve grown in your role. If you’re going to give someone tough feedback, bring examples of their work and behavior.

Be ready to defend your point of view and explain how you came to it. And think through any stories you’re telling yourself about the other person. Do you see your boss as “the enemy” because she can grant or deny your raise request? Consider what your manager will care about in the conversation, and use that to plan how you’ll address her concerns.

From HBR.org and adapted from “4 Things to Do Before a Tough Conversation,” by Joseph Grenny.