Difficult Conversations Questionnaire

We look forward to working with you at our upcoming workshop and hope it will be a challenging and worthwhile experience.

In preparation for your workshop, please give a recount of a difficult conversation that you experienced recently. The conversation should represent something meaningful to you. This might be because the actual stakes are high, or because the dynamic is one you experience often. It might be because the relationship is important, or because, regardless of the apparent importance of the stakes or the relationship, the conversation makes you feel anxious or unsure how to interact. Or perhaps in the past interactions like these have ended in poor outcomes for you or the others.

Instructions – An example follows and a blank form is included below for your submission. In the right column (RC), record what you and others involved actually said and did. It is essential that you write down actual dialogue or “quotes”, as if writing a script. Don’t worry about being precise; your best recollection is fine. In the left column (LC), write down any thoughts or feelings you had and did not express. Please note that CMPartners has a confidentiality agreement with your organization and we extend that to each of you as individuals as well. While it is best that you choose an example that you might feel comfortable sharing other workshop participants, we will not make reference to your case without your explicit permission. For example:

(LC) What I thought and Felt But Didn’t Say

As a team leader I should introduce the session.

More sense? Because most of the audience is senior? Or because you want to be in control from the beginning? Karen thinks she should have my job.

I’ll be diplomatic about it.

I can’t stand it when she does this! If I raise it she’ll accuse me of making a big deal out of nothing.

(RC) What We Actually Said & Did

Michael (me): So I’ll give an introduction and then hand the presentation over to you Bob.

Karen: It makes more sense for me to start the session. I’ll introduce everybody and then just get into it.

Me: I was thinking that since I’m heading the team, it is most appropriate for me to start.

Karen: It’s really not all that important, so I’ll just go ahead and kick it off.

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Thank you very much!