Being Brave: Having Tough Conversations » Mind Tools Blog
Being Brave: Having Tough Conversations

Being Brave: Having Tough Conversations

December 6, 2016

Mind Tools

Please Join Us!

What: #MTtalk

Where: Twitter

When: Friday, Dec 9, 2016 @ 1pm EST (6pm GMT)

Topic: Being Brave: Having Tough Conversations

Host: @Mind_Tools

About This Week’s Chat About Having Tough Conversations

“When we avoid difficult conversations, we trade short term discomfort for long term dysfunction.” – Peter Bromberg

John is the senior operations manager of the production department at a gold mine. If his department doesn’t operate well, the mine doesn’t make money. Production can’t come to a standstill for any reason other than planned maintenance.

A recent squabble between senior supervisors Kyle and Newton led to them giving different orders to their teams. This incident caused production to lapse for a few hours, and the resulting loss amounted to $1m.

John knows there is a personality clash between the two supervisors. Their differences has caused issues before, but never anything as serious as this. Because their clash has now affected production, John has to have a conversation with them.

John has put off talking to them previously because he knows it is going to be a tough conversation. Both of the supervisors are at least 10 years older than him, and they have more years’ work experience than him. He also knows personality and values are tricky issues to address because people tend to get defensive. He sometimes avoids talking about an issue because he wants to avoid conflict.

In our Twitter poll last week, we asked people what their main reasons were for avoiding tough conversations. More than 60 percent said they didn’t want conflict. Almost 20 percent avoided having tough conversations because of previous bad experiences.

In this week’s #MTtalk chat, called “Being Brave: Having Tough Conversations,” we’ll discuss tools and tips to help you to prepare for those difficult conversations. Have a look at the following questions to spark some thoughts in preparation for the chat:

  • How do you prepare for a tough conversation?
  • What do you do to keep calm and clear-headed during a tough conversation?
  • What do you dislike about having tough conversations?
  • Why do you think people fear having tough conversations?
  • How do you move on after having a tough conversation with someone?


To help you prepare for the chat, we’ve compiled a list of resources.

At Mind Tools, we enjoy hearing from people all over the world who share their thoughts and experiences with us. We’d like you to participate in the #MTtalk chat, too, this Friday at 1pm EST (6pm GMT). Remember, we feature great participant responses right here on our blog every week!

How to Join

Follow us on Twitter to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the action this Friday! We’ll be tweeting out 10 questions during our hour-long chat. To participate in the chat, type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function. Then, click on “All Tweets” and you’ll be able to follow the live chat feed. You can join the chat by using the hash tag #MTtalk in your responses.


14 thoughts on “Being Brave: Having Tough Conversations



    1. Sonia Harris wrote:

      Thanks for sharing your view, Glenis!

      Mind Tools Coach

  2. CRISANN FULLER wrote:

    Good body language and eye contact is the main part of our communication, and its is powerful. Listening and having an understanding is also key in our communication.

    1. Sarah Harvey wrote:

      Thanks for your comments Crisann, I absolutely agree. If we get these things right our tough conversations would go a bit more smoothly.

      Mind Tools Coach

  3. Simona Felicia Stoicescu wrote:

    Be calm, polite, keep eye contact and vive a solution

    1. Sonia wrote:

      Hi Simona,
      When the time comes for me to be brave, first being calm helps my mood. After that, everything else falls into place for me to offer a solution.
      -Sonia, MT

  4. paula wrote:

    eye contact is very important

    1. Sonia wrote:

      Good point, Paula. Maintaining eye contact helps the other person know that you are paying attention to them while listening.

      -Sonia, MT

  5. Victoria Griffin wrote:

    Keeping calm and caring for others is key when dealing with an angry guest. Take a deep breath and listen to every single information the guest is giving to you. Prepare yourself with the training you have learnt and use this to the best of your ability.

    1. Midgie Thompson wrote:

      Excellent point Victoria about caring for others when we approach these conversation. When our intention is positive/good and we do things in a caring way, it does make a difference during the conversation!

  6. Lorraine denison wrote:

    Eye contact is important and try to stay calm or get some one else to help you

    1. Midgie Thompson wrote:

      Hi Lorraine,
      Good eye contact is so important to me, whether it is when having tough conversations or not. I will often take a few moments before I go to have the conversation to do some relaxation and calming exercises. This helps to keep me grounded during the conversation!

  7. Michael Osullivan wrote:

    eye contact with the guest listen to what they have to say,if they start talking loud get another colleague to speak to them

    1. Midgie Thompson wrote:

      Hi Michael, Indeed eye contact is really powerful and shows that you are fully present and listening to the other person, no matter how tough the conversation is.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Please note that we reserve the right to remove comments that we feel are off-topic or offensive. Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

View our Privacy Policy.