How to handle difficult conversations by leading with empathy

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Stressed over a conversation you KNOW is going to be difficult?

Maybe it’s with a person you’ve always butted heads with, no matter what you say or do? If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. My fellow LinkedIn Learning instructor, Kwame Christian Esq., M.A., is an expert in having difficult conversations in a productive way. I reached out to ask him to share another tip on the best way to handle it.

His advice? Lead with empathy. Start with genuine curiosity and ask open-ended questions. Then, focus on what the other person is saying and feeling with an open mind. This typically leads to them reciprocating and allowing you the opportunity to express your thoughts, as well. When you approach a difficult conversation with empathy, you open the opportunity to learn about each other and avoid misunderstandings.

What other advice would you give on turning a difficult conversation into a productive one?

Dave’s courses are on LinkedIn Learning and offer guidance on improving your time management, productivity, focus, and more!

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