Despite having read “Crucial Conversations” (McGraw-Hill) more than once and attending countless presentations on delivering bad news and managing conflict, I’ve never been very skilled in this area. I dread these types of personal interactions, and I’m ashamed to admit that I do what I can to get out of them — at home and at work.
But recently I was in a situation where I could no longer avoid a difficult conversation. So I did what many other writers, PR pros and corporate communicators would do: I treated the conversation as a writing assignment. What started out as a blog post about everything that I wanted to cover turned into a script where I could role-play the entire conversation.
What I discovered was that the act of writing a script helped clarify my thoughts and find the right words for the conversation. It was truly an “Aha!” moment when the solution to this long-standing problem suddenly became clear and obvious.
The most difficult part of my scripting exercise was figuring out how to start the conversation. (Which should come as no surprise, considering that most writers struggle with leads and opening lines.) So I came up with several starters for my conversation, along with starters that might apply to other difficult discussions:
How about you, PR Daily readers? Do you have any conversation starters to add to this list?
This post was first published on Ragan Communications PR Daily.