Training Materials

Difficult Conversations

Sale price£109
Product Code: DC2046

Audience: Anyone

Prerequisites: None

Notes: An ideal extension to this course is to combine it with Handling Difficult People in a two days course. This allows you to cover related content and helps delegates to understand the overall topic better.

Course Duration: 1-Day

Course Level: Beginner Intermediate

Category: Interpersonal Development

Course on Handling Challenging Conversations and Learning to Deal with Emotional Interactions

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“A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with.”

Kenneth A. Wells

Sometimes we find ourselves in an unpleasant conversation. Most people have a strong urge to avoid such conversations. Some adopt a “silent treatment” as a way to avoid the issues. Others avoid the person altogether so they never end up in such situation.

The problem however is not always other people or the nature of the conversation, but the way we handle it. Knowing how to handle difficult conversations such as providing feedback when somebody had done something wrong, delivering bad news and apologising is critical in maintaining and strengthening our relationships with others whether at work or in our personal life.

Equally, sometimes we go through an interaction that leaves us angry or upset. Sometimes we react based on our emotions which can have drastic consequences. We need to find out what makes us feel in a certain way and if this feeling is justified. Next, we need to take steps to correct our feelings in order to adjust our behaviour. There are several techniques that can be used to achieve this which is presented in this course.

A critical point about using techniques to improve a conversation is to be able to execute them flawlessly even in an emotional state. This means that the techniques must be fully memorised as you would not have time to think logically to work out the steps. This course contains several exercises for each of these techniques designed explicitly to maximise learning and memorisation of these methods. Delegates should be able to start using these techniques straight after the course and with more practice it would eventually become a habit.

The course contains all the necessary exercises and instructions as well as workbook, handouts and course guidelines to run the course as smoothly as possible.

In this highly practical course participants will learn:


Handling Conversations

  • What strategy to use in managing difficult conversations?
  • What are the critical body language signals and gestures to be aware of in a conversation?
  • Why is it important to understand other people’s needs and how this can help you to improve your conversation?
  • How to gain respect and show it
  • Why aiming for win/win can make all the difference?


Power of Emotions

  • How do we make decisions and what influences our decision making process?
  • How much of your decision making process relies on emotions and the way you feel about something?
  • What are the best practice guidelines on improving your conversations with others?


Understanding Emotions

  • What are the 6 steps that lead you to an action and how to use this model to change the way you act?
  • How can you address self-talk and improve your self-awareness to better understand the world around you?
  • How to stop negative and destructive self-talk
  • How can you manipulate the way you think and feel to change the way you act?


Delivering Bad News

  • How to handle a conversation when you know the other person may become very emotional as a result of what you say
  • How to prepare to deliver potentially bad news
  • How should you start when you want to talk about bad news?
  • How to use the 7-Steps technique to deliver bad news
  • What kinds of reactions can you expect to receive when delivering bad news?
  • How to handle people’s reactions to what you say when they become highly emotional or upset


How to Apologise

  • How can apologising significantly strengthen your relationship?
  • What happens when we don’t apologise?
  • How to use a 6-steps technique to apologise in a way that shows you mean it

What Is Included

Everything you need to run the course:

  • Slides
  • Workbook
  • Exercises
  • Handouts
  • Trainer Notes
  • Specific Course Guidelines
  • Agenda
  • Guidelines on Training Methodology
  • Course Outline
  • Recommended Readings
  • Feedback Forms
  • Certificate of Achievement
Difficult Conversations Training Materials

Course Objectives

By the end of this course delegates will be able to:

  • Control the flow of a potentially difficult conversation and learn to focus on what matters the most
  • Analyse your behaviour as well as those of others and better understand what makes people take a particular action
  • Appreciate the power of emotions and how you can take advantage of them to control your actions
  • Prepare for and deliver bad news using a systematic step-by-step technique and handle the reactions smoothly
  • Apologise systematically to show your sincerity and improve your relationships

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Designed based on the latest research in educational psychology, cognitive psychology, social sciences and business practices

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Designed in line with the principles of accelerated learning


Designed to include many examples, case studies and exercises to improve learning and retention


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Receive editable source files in MS Office 365 (Word DOC/DOCX and Power Point PPT/PPTX) and previous Office versions 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 & 2016

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About the Design Philosophy of Difficult Conversations Course

This course is about conversation that people find difficult and wish to avoid. As a result the course is designed from the outset to be interesting and engaging. The techniques are presented in a simple yet effective form to make them easy to practice and remember. The subject is potentially complex, though the course aims to present this in a way that doesn’t feel complex or unachievable.

Ideally we want the delegates to leave the course feeling more confident about their conversation and interactions in the future. The boost in self-confidence, coupled with the knowledge of effective and simple-to-execute technique can prepare them to quickly form new habits. The course relies strongly on our tried and tested method of training; Try, Practice, Demonstrate. The modular course can be easily mixed with other sessions from other courses so you can fine tune the course for your specific clients.

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Example Included in the Difficult Conversations Course

Here is an example of a conversation presented in the course along with techniques that can be used to improve the interaction.

The following conversation takes place between Andrew and Kelly. They are both managers and work in the same company. In this conversation, Andrew appears aggressive towards Kelly and she constantly reacts to his remarks. Andrew should use tentative remarks to express his concern so Kelly can listen to his real concern. This would then allow them to work together on the issue. Andrew’s mistakes are highlighted in bold in this conversation.


“Look Kelly, everybody knows [Generalisation] that this project is supposed to be finished by the end of March. The only reason we are not going to meet the deadline is because of your slow team. [Toxic Word]

Kelly: “Well, first of all my team is not slow. They have a much better record than other teams around here. Besides, the reason we cannot make the deadline is because we didn’t have the resources…”

“Somehow I knew you were going to say that. I am not quite sure if this is true [Undermining yourself], but I heard that the management gave you three extra people to work on this part of the project.”


“That’s not true. I needed specific technical experts and we rotated the team members for this.”


“The fact is that you think you can get anyone you want here for this little part of a big project and expect everyone to remain quiet [Mixing story with facts].”


“I cannot believe this! I feel that I am being marginalised here.”


“It is absolutely clear [Extreme language] that the reason your team is failing is because they are not managed well…”

This conversation did not go smoothly and is progressively getting out of control. Andrew needs to use less extreme remarks and stick to what he knows, not what he assumes. Here are a number of techniques that he can use:



Bad Example

Replace With

Stick to Facts
  • Your story as facts….
  • “As I understand…”
  • “There have been some developments which I believe you might not be aware of…”
  • “In my opinion…”
Don’t Generalise
  • “Everyone thinks that this client is a major pain.”
  • “My team had problems with this client in both projects we did for them.”
Don’t Undermine Yourself
  • “What I am telling you is a rumour…”
  • “I am not quite sure if this is true, but…”
  • “Call me crazy but…”
  • “This is probably not true, but I like you to correct me if I am wrong…”
  • “I have heard from two people that…”
  • “Here is an idea…”
  • “Can you tell me more about…”
Don’t Be Extreme
  • “It is absolutely clear that…”
  • “Some people in the team believe that…”

Don’t Mix Story With Facts

  • “The fact is… [followed by story]”
  • “The fact is that she thinks she is in charge of everyone”
  • “Form what you say, my understanding is…”

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