All posts by Todd King

Trainer QA

How do you handle a crucial conversation with a really difficult person?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd King

Todd King is a Master Trainer and Senior Consultant at VitalSmarts.

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Q How do you handle a crucial conversation/crucial confrontation with somebody who is a really difficult, or even malicious, person?

A Great question! We should first define “difficult” and “malicious.” Likely we are talking about some form of silence or violence in either case. Remember that any time you see silence or violence, it indicates a lack of safety.

The fix here is to use a safety tool. If you think the “maliciousness” is due to the other person feeling disrespected, apologize to restore the respect. If you think it stems from the other person believing that you don’t care about him or her, create mutual purpose. If perhaps the other person has misunderstood you, use a contrasting statement.

Perhaps most important is to remember that tough issues don’t necessarily get resolved in one conversation. It may take several interactions to build, or rebuild, trust with the other person.

Trainer QA

How can I help participants pinpoint the difference between source 3 and source 4 in the “Master My Stories” lesson of Crucial Confrontations?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd King

Todd King is a Master Trainer and Senior Consultant at VitalSmarts.

READ MORE

Q How can I help participants pinpoint the difference between source 3 and source 4 in the “Master My Stories” lesson of Crucial Confrontations? Is there a clear and concise way to illustrate this difference when other methods of explanation (like “peer pressure” vs. “helps and hindrances”) don’t work?

A As you mention, sources 3 and 4 tend to bleed together. Often those who encourage us (source 3) are also the ones who help us (source 4); and those who help us, also encourage us.

Here is one way of thinking about the difference between the two: Source 3 is about encouraging or discouraging a behavior in someone else. Source 4 is about making that behavior easier or harder for the person to do. Source 3 is often verbal. Source 4 can be verbal, but is often behavioral.

For example, I want you to take a longer lunch break than usual so we can eat at a restaurant that I like. Most likely I will try to verbally persuade you into going (source 3). I may also do things to make it easier for you to go, like offering to drive my car or getting someone to cover your calls while you are gone (source 4).

The bottom-line is this: Encourage or discourage = source 3. Making a behavior more difficult or less difficult = source 4.

To help clarify, let’s look at these sources in the context of the video set in the training where Bruce is asking for batteries from Scott.

Scott’s boss told him to “hold off,” encouraging him not to move forward, therefore using source 3. If Scott’s boss had held up the form so the order could not go in, that would be making it more difficult, therefore source 4.

Warmest Wishes,
Todd King