Difficult Conversations

Difficult Conversations
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Resources
Recorded on: 2019-05-07
Unit 1Slide Deck: Difficult Conversations
Unit 2Workbook: Difficult Conversations
Unit 3Recording: Difficult Conversations

Difficult conversations are just that – difficult. They happen in instances when we need to communicate our grievances, things that we want to change, or deliver bad news. But there are ways to make these difficult conversations a little less stressful or challenging. And that is what today’s instructor, Amy Morgan, will share on this Justice Clearinghouse course.

Amy is no stranger to Justice Clearinghouse having presented in numerous webinars over the years. Amy is the Founder and Executive Training Director of Academy Hour, an organization that offers training courses related to mental health and leadership to law enforcement, emergency responders and other industries. Pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology and with a Master’s Degree in Counseling, Amy is an expert in mental health with experience in curriculum development and course instruction serving numerous law enforcement agencies in the state of Oklahoma.

Specifics of this course include:

  • Circumstances and factors that make a conversation difficult – including unexpected news, lack of rapport, trust and existing relationship, or presence of extreme emotions.
  • The different characters with whom we will find ourselves having difficult conversations with in the workplace, in our personal relationships, in the group setting, as well as the characteristics of each type of interaction.
  • The common reasons that give rise to the need for difficult conversations that includes attempting to teach or help someone else grow or change, interventions, and delivering bad news.
  • How to prevent the need to have difficult conversations in the first place through constant communication that is characterized by honesty, having the appropriate form of communication, solving problems that come along the way, and acknowledging the need for and embrace change.
  • Strategies on how to work our way towards a difficult conversation that includes:
    • Planning the talking points and the best place and time to have the conversation.
    • Stating the intention up front as an introduction and a way to diffuse anxiety.
    • Ensuring accuracy of information by performing due diligence and avoiding exaggeration by sticking to the facts.
    • Removing feelings from your talking points which may fuel or trigger a negative or emotional response from the other person.
    • Removing the accusatory tone of the ‘you format’ and instead utilizing the ‘I format’ which uses a positioning based on how you understand their response, reactions, and feelings.
  • The importance of asking for feedback to ensure a successful two-way communication by showing respect to their thoughts and asking for explanations, points of disagreement or questions.
  • The critical skill of active listening that is exhibited by asking questions and clarifications, not interrupting to show respect, responding through non-verbals, and summarizing and paraphrasing what you understood and the key points of their response.
  • Coming up with potential solutions to the issue that is central to the difficult conversation by:
    • Brainstorming for a collaborative effort towards a final solution and action plan.
    • Being realistic with the proposed solution such that it is achievable.
    • Setting expectations out of the solution and action plan and defining how things will go after the conversation.
    • Managing reactions and responses that may take place after the discussion.
    • Avoiding diversions by going back to the plan if the conversation goes off-course.
  • Summarizing the conversation by reiterating the main point, reviewing the agreed upon solution, action plan, expectations and consequences, and ending the conversation on a positive note.
  • The importance of documentation in the workplace setting as a basis for performance management or disciplinary measures.
  • Amy addressed inquiries from the audience about:
    • Dealing with toxic, negative, disrespectful and jaded individuals.
    • Taking notes during a difficult conversation.
    • Overcoming the fear and anxiety of dealing with difficult conversations.
    • Working with a limited time and sticking to it.
    • Setting expectations to deal with passive-aggressive people.
    • Facilitating a conversation between two individuals who do not want to talk directly to each other.
    • Suggestions on how to do difficult group discussions.


Audience Comments:

  • “Amy Morgan is an excellent presenter; thank you for continuing to host her webinars.” – Kimba
  • “Great presentation – loved the ideas and summaries at the end of each section to help focus on important points.” –Laurie
  • “Helpful for me to prepare myself for a difficult meeting with my supervisor.” –Alma
  • “I appreciated the technical tips for having the conversation, including suggestions for showing respect and improving through planning.” –Deanna
  • “I enjoyed the whole seminar but especially the way it breaks down the approach to a difficult conversation. It allows a person to identify and work on an aspect they might find more difficult than others.” –Diego
  • “I gained a feeling of validation and confidence that I have handled a particular situation fairly well so far and this webinar has also given me new tips and motivation to face the ones that I will have moving forward. Thank You!” –Renee


Additional Resources
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