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Handling Difficult Conversations


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This webinar is for anyone who would like to improve their communication with difficult people. Judith Katz, MS, will present a set of simple tools that you will be able to apply immediately to any communication situation. The process she will be presenting on is a four-step methodology developed by psychologist Marshall Rosenberg that has been taken up by thousands of people and applied in businesses, community organizations, and government institutions around the world.

Published in: Business, Technology
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Handling Difficult Conversations

  1. 1. Handling Difficult Conversations Judith Katz October 12, 2011A Service Of: Sponsored by:
  2. 2. INTEGRATED PLANNING Advising nonprofits in: • Strategy • Planning (617) 969-1881 • Organizational Development info@synthesispartnership.comA Service Of: Sponsored by:
  3. 3. Affordable collaborative data management in the cloud.A Service Of: Sponsored by:
  4. 4. Today’s Speaker Judith Katz Consultant, Judith Katz ConsultingAssisting with chat questions: Hosting:April Hunt, Nonprofit Webinars Sam Frank, Synthesis PartnershipA Service Of: Sponsored by:
  5. 5. Handling Difficult Conversations 3 by Judith Katz, M.S.with selections adapted from “simple practices for complex times” by Carol Wolfley
  6. 6. About me Twitter: @katzjudithBay Nature Connection Action Project
  7. 7. Our ability to relate with others corresponds to our success as individuals and organizations. If your emotional abilities arent in hand, if you dont have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you cant have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. World Economic Forum - Daniel Goleman, author, psychologist, and science journalist “The best organizations and the ones that survive economic tsunamis are those with empathic cultures Photo by TedXSomaand managers who are able to step outside themselves and walk in someone elses shoes.”- Dev Patniak, Author Wired to Care, Founder, Jump Associates
  8. 8. The rise of social mediarequires managing newtypes of conversations. Image by Intersection consulting
  9. 9. It is estimated that 85 percent of people experience conflicts at work (Volkema and Bergmann 1989)
  10. 10. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. - Albert Einstein (This includes difficult conversations.)
  11. 11. So when we face a difficult person or situation … Photo by joyeusejoy
  12. 12. Things we do inchallenging situations thatmake things worse • Blame “You made me…” • Shame • Criticize • Label • Threaten • Moral judgments • “Should”
  13. 13. Commonly used conflictresolution options. - Try to force outcomes - Submit - Compromise, or - Avoid the problem. -(These can just make things more difficult.) But instead, we can choose to . . .
  14. 14. CONNECT Photo by
  15. 15. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) was developed by psychologist and international peacemaker Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.
  16. 16. Four steps of NVC 1. OBSERVATION 2. FEELINGS 3. NEEDS 4. REQUESTS
  17. 17. This framework helps make adifficult conversation into an opportunity.
  18. 18. 1. Observation
  19. 19. Distinguish between facts and judgments.For example Instead of• Your information about that • You’re wrong. is different than mine.• He said, “I’m going to lead • He’s bossy. all the meetings.”• I have a different way of • That’s stupid. seeing it.
  20. 20. 2. Feelings
  21. 21. Partial List of Feelingsdelighted concerned angry happy frustrated annoyed grateful disappointed sad hopeful confused lonelysurprised unsure scared curious doubtful affectionate Am I feeling _____________? Are you feeling ___________?
  22. 22. 3. Needs In every moment, each of us is trying to meet our needs in the best way we know how. – Dr. Marshall Rosenberg
  23. 23. Universal Needs (partial list) clarity effectiveness fun creativity trust order participation ease safety unity connection restpredictability to matter hope peace consideration contribution freedom to be heard Am I wanting _____? appreciation Are you wanting _____?understanding
  24. 24. Strategies are ways we try to meet our needsStrategy Possible underlying needs• Talk behind the person’s back • Companionship, belonging, ease• Try to convince the person • Understanding, shared reality, connection• Go to the person’s supervisor • Effectiveness, clarity , trust• Ignore the conflict • Ease, peace, predictability• Use one’s own authority to • Clarity, effectiveness, ease settle the issue• Discuss the issue with people • Understanding, connection, outside of work trust
  25. 25. 4. Requests
  26. 26. Risk making a request• Be specific (i.e., time & place)• Ask for what you want, rather than whatyou don’t want• Say why it’s important to you (need)• Stay open to hearing a “no”
  27. 27. Examples of RequestsInstead of You could sayYou should stay in contact I’m concerned about thiswith me about this. project. Would you be willing to call me about it tomorrow?Stop talking so loud! Would you be willing to speak more quietly?Your handwriting is terrible! I’m wondering if you could type the minutes during the next meeting because it’s important for me to be able to read them in their entirety.
  28. 28. Request connection
  29. 29. Use requests that help you to connect with the other For example: person. • I’m wondering if you are willing to hear what’s coming up for me as you’re saying this?Photo by Eric Peacock • I’m guessing this situation may be frustrating for you; is that right? • For clarity, can you tell me whether or not you agree with this proposal?
  30. 30. Example 1: A “difficult • Observation: You are putting in 1-2conversation” with the extra unpaid hours every day for theboss about workload last month. • Feeling: Frustrated, concerned, overwhelmed • Needs: Rest, appreciation, support • Request: (to boss) “I’ve been working 1-2 extra unpaid hours every day for the last month. I’m needing support and I’m wondering if you would be willing to hire a part- time assistant as we enter the busy season.”
  31. 31. Example 2: A “difficult • Observation: Last week, yourconversation” about employee said that they were goingaccountability to update the website by Friday, and it’s still not done. • Feeling: Irritated, stressed • Need: Integrity, support, trust • Request: “George, my memory is that last week you said you were going to update the website by Friday, and today I see that it’s still not done. It’s important to me that we fulfill our commitment to our clients. Would you be willing to update it by the end of the day today?”
  32. 32. Example 3: A “difficult • Observation: Your colleague startsconversation” with a talking before you are finished with“difficult person” what you’re saying. • Feeling: Frustrated, angry • Need: To be heard, respect, contribution • Request: “Jill, when you started talking before I finish what I’m saying, I feel frustrated. I’d like to be heard on this point, and I’m wondering if you would be willing to let me finish what I’m saying – won’t take more than a minute – before you start speaking again.”
  33. 33. Reflect what you’ve heard Photo by mielconejo
  34. 34. Check to make sure you understand what the speaker is trying to say.- Can I tell you what I heard you say, so I can besure I got it?- I’d like to be clear. Did you say that you want tomeet on Wednesday, but not on Friday?
  35. 35. When you say “no” to a request… Photo by bulldog1
  36. 36. Share the need you are hoping to meet by your choice. I’m regretting that I won’t be helping with this. I have a prior commitment to my family today. I’m not ready to support your proposal. I plan to get more information to reach a decision.
  37. 37. And when someone tells you “no”… Photo by eyeliam
  38. 38. Explore what’s going on for them.Are you not getting this done because you want to finish the other job first?
  39. 39. Welcome diverse perspectives Studies have shown that greater diversity leads to more successful, resilientorganizations. Value inclusion and mutual understanding of perspectives that may be influenced by race, income level, gender, age, religion, and national origin.
  40. 40. We gain power by learning how we can work to meet everyone’s needs.
  41. 41. While most people agree that listening effectivelyis a very important skill, most people dont feel astrong need to improve their own skill level.
  42. 42. These tools help build sustainable, trusting relationships.
  43. 43. Steps to handling a difficult conversation• Pause. “Don’t just do something, sit there.”• Distinguish between observations & opinions• Gain awareness of feelings (yours & theirs)• Gain awareness of needs (yours & theirs)• Make specific, doable requests• Reflect what you’ve heard• Find the “yes” behind the “no”• See the gift we each bring to the conversation
  44. 44. Further Resources For a free consultation, contact: For more information about, or Nonviolent Communication and Dr. call 650/303-4237 Marshall Rosenberg, including finding NVC courses:, Email Phone: 1-818-957-9393 For copies of the booklet“Simple Practices for Complex Times” email
  45. 45. Find listings for our current season of webinars and register at: NonprofitWebinars.comA Service Of: Sponsored by: