Leadership Tip

How to react when a conversation heats up

Conversation is challenging enough at times. When it gets heated, conversation can seem impossible. When a conversation turns negative, it’s helpful to have a repertoire of replies at your fingertips. Consider these options:

  1. Reframe. Cast the issue in a different light. If someone says, “I don’t want to fight about this,” a useful reframe is, "This is a debate, certainly not a fight."
     
  2. Rephrase. Rather than letting offensive words pass, suggest replacements. If someone accuses you of coming on too strongly in a meeting, you might reply, "I was passionate." If you’re described as stubborn, you could say, "I’m very determined when something is important to a successful effort."
     
  3. Revisit. If you’ve had positive interactions with the person in the past, remind them of their ability to find common ground: "We have a good track record of working together. No reason to change that now."
     
  4. Restate. Give people a chance to reconsider and alter what was said: "Surely there’s another way to say that."

The above leadership tip...
was sent in response to a question from a participant on our acclaimed 10/10 leadership development and mentoring programme and adapted from 7 Things to Say When a Conversation Turns Negative by Kathleen Kelley Reardon. Whether you're a first time manager or an experienced leader, straightforward, practical advice on best practice is hard to find. Until now. To find out how you, your team or your organisation can benefit, please join us on our next complimentary webinar or contact us.

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