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Difficult Discussions

Course Code



1 Day


This course provides training that allows participants to master proven techniques that give you the control and power you need to transform toxic talk into healthy dialogue – enabling you to talk to anyone, at anytime, anywhere, about anything. Have you ever been faced with the challenge of having a discussion with a co-worker that you fear will turn into a nightmare? Have you ever avoided a difficult discussion because you were anxious about how the other person would react? If so, this course is perfect for you!

This course is designed for anyone.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize blockers that hinder having a healthy discussion
  • Set the stage for a safe, risk-free discussion
  • Use the “Colombo Technique” to disarm and control hostile encounters
  • Become detached listeners
  • Use a variety of thought modifying techniques
  • Recognize key non-verbal messages and body language cues
  • Master the Six-Step Process when having a difficult discussion

I. Introduction
A. What make a difficult discussion difficult?
B. Why we become emotionally hijacked
C. Communication truisms

The course begins by laying a strong foundation for why so many people struggle with having difficult discussions. A blend of psychology and brain theory sets the stage to understand why various blockers so often hinder our ability to have healthy conversation.

II. The Six-Step Process
A. From prologue to epilogue
B. Characters of your story
C. Skills to modifying your story

This section provides a six-step process that leads to healthy discussions. Participants identify how they contribute to the challenges often found in the communication process. They also learn self-talk techniques to remain focused and logical during a difficult discussion.

III. Invite the Discussion
A. Set the stage
B. Importance of body language

How one invites a person to have a difficult discussion is critical. In this section, participants learn how to create a safe environment that is critical to setting the stage so that a difficult discussion can take place.

IV. Tell Your Story
A. Elements of a healthy story
B. The Colombo Technique

In this section, participants recognize several aspects that make for a healthy discussion. They also learn a technique that minimizes defensive behavior.

V. Invite Others to Tell Their Story
A. Becoming a detached listener
B. Recognizing non verbal messages

When inviting others to tell their story, it is imperative to become a detached but empathic listener. This section shows participants how to remain focused while simultaneously decreasing the likelihood of becoming defensive.

VI. Now, Bridge the Stories
A. Finding similarities
B. The “Nutshell” technique

In this section, participants learn how to merge what is often two very different stories in a masterful way that paves the path to a positive outcome.

VII. The End of the Story
A. Three typical outcomes
B. Negotiating a solution

Participants identify three common outcomes of a difficult discussion and learn skills to negotiate a solution.

VIII. The “What-If’s?”
A. The “Don’t-Do” technique
B. Other skills

In this section, participants learn specific skills that will provide them with real-world skills to deal with the inevitable “what-ifs” that occur during a difficult discussion.

IX. Practice, Practice, Practice
This is the time where theory, knowledge and skill come together. Participants are coached in using the Six-step process as well as all other skills learned throughout the course in a “real-life” difficult discussion. From role-plays to one-on-one practice with the instructor, participants are challenged to apply what they learned, receive feedback and complete the course having demonstrated competence when having a difficult discussion.

X. Conclusion and Celebration

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