Difficult Conversations are not usually steeped in conflict unless those conversations are ignored. As Lou Solomon reports in the Harvard Business Review, two-thirds of managers are uncomfortable communicating with their employees.

Two reasons why difficult conversations are avoided:

  1. FEAR of being attacked back or of disappointing someone.

  2. FEAR of not knowing how to have a respectful difficult conversation where we will feel prepared and able to confidently work through the anticipated needs, emotions and fears of the people we are speaking with.

Conflict management and difficult conversations training builds respect. Knowing how to have difficult conversations at work means you’ll increase your ability to build trusting relationships, reduce stress and find collaborative solutions.

Difficult Conversations Training & Conflict Management Impact

It's natural to dislike challenging crucial conversations, and yet learning why conflict at work happens, the benefits of resolution and how to have them is part of a well-balanced professional development plan. After our skills training course participants will:

  1. Understand why most of us try to avoid conflict at work and difficult conversations

  2. Know that avoiding conflict usually leads to lack of performance, trust, respect and increased turnover

  3. Build strong communication skills and agree resolving conflict is important

  4. See early signs of conflict as an opportunity - a place where people feel passionate and are demonstrating a level of ownership and concern

  5. Explore how to master your emotions and attack problems — not people

  6. Know how to prepare for a respectful difficult conversation and resolve conflict

  7. Know when having a challenging conversation is the right solution… and when it is not

  8. Know how to provide feedback and constructive evaluation in a productive, supportive way

  9. Explore how Mindfulness helps us stay present and how Emotion Focused Therapy helps us understand our feelings and needs

  10. Be able to resolve conflict face-to-face, by phone and by email

  11. Use proven negotiation strategies to achieve better outcomes and business relationships

  12. Evaluate your priorities - and theirs

  13. Realize how individual beliefs and ego (not logical ideas), often impact conflict management

  14. Be able to give constructive feedback in a non-threatening way

  15. Learn when and how to say No... respectfully

  16. Know how to deal with difficult people when they are angry and/or hostile people

Difficult conversations training is an important part of a professional development plan. Toronto based Bruce Mayhew Consulting teaches participants how to use negotiation and conflict resolution skills that lead to mutually beneficial outcomes and long-term profitable relationships.

But if we do nothing, avoiding confrontation and difficult conversations leads to resentment, lack of trust and loss of motivation. It also means an uncomfortable situation can quickly escalate into serious conflict and crucial conversations.

Our Approach to Difficult Conversations & Conflict Management

Toronto Difficult Conversations training expert and executive coach Bruce Mayhew Consulting provides practical step-by-step solutions supported by real life examples. We explore unique solutions that have great impact like:

  • How to discuss what matters most.

  • Why it's best to always consider a personal / emotional resolution.

  • The top mistakes managers make when having difficult conversations.

Crucial conversations and negotiations are important, that's why we also explore the impact of:

  • Triggers

  • Judgment

  • Assumptions

  • Fear

  • Beliefs

Who Should Attend?

Difficult conversations training is for all employees who manage staff, work in collaborative environments and/or who routinely negotiate or deal with difficult people (customers or suppliers). Confidently turn crucial conversations into constructive conversations.

To learn more about how you and your organization can benefit, call us at 416.617.0462.

Related Management Training That Drives Business Success

Bruce Mayhew offers professional development, career training and Difficult Conversations training in Toronto. We also offer training and speak at conferences in New York and throughout Canada and the USA. Bruce Mayhew Consulting's other popular programs are Email Etiquette Training, Generational Differences and Time Management Training.


Trainer, Coach, Writer & Conference Speaker.

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Contact Us About Having Difficult Conversations

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How To approach Difficult conversations

How To approach Difficult conversations

Bruce Mayhew, Conference Speaker

Bruce Mayhew, Conference Speaker


Difficult Conversations Training / Crucial Conversations Tips

Training Tip #1

Know what you want to achieve in advance. Be sure to stay positive, listen without judging and don't be defensive. Difficult conversations are emotional and can be stressful for everyone, but it's important we try not to BE emotional during the conversation. We apply Emotion Focused Therapy to help participants understand their feelings and the feelings of their stakeholders.

Training Tip #2

Make sure the timing right. Everyone involved has to be 100% present and not distracted - therefore - make sure you do this (as best you can), when everyone is at their best.

For example - you don't want to have a difficult conversation as your associate is running out the door late for a meeting - or when you and your partner are pulling up to a New Years eve party.

Training Tip #3

Know that it's going to be uncomfortable for you and the other person / people... so, be comfortable with the idea that you will be uncomfortable.

Knowing you are going to feel uncomfortable during a difficult conversation will help you keep your focus and your emotions in check.

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