Cindy Novotny

Don’t Miss a Golden Opportunity to Build a Better Relationship by Avoiding a Difficult Conversation!


I have been a longtime fan of Susan Scott and her book ‘Fierce Conversations.’  If you haven’t read it I would suggest it as a ‘must read’ to anyone who struggles with facing issues in both personal and professional relationships.  Today I am going to discuss work conversations and why it is so critical to have ‘real conversations’ with colleagues and clients.

I find the biggest issue that causes conflict is being misunderstood, misquoted or interpreted the wrong way.  The root of most communication problems is not addressing these issues immediately.  Even with clients it may seem very difficult to address a problem directly but if you don’t, the ramifications could be losing their business altogether.  When working on a project, a team assignment or even dealing with family life issues, you need to be clear and state what fact vs. feeling is. 

Here are some tips to think about as you begin the journey of ‘getting real’ with conversations:

  1. Matching Efforts on Projects - Most teams at work and even within families start to feel unbalanced in their productivity.  Who is doing more work, who is contributing more and what feedback should you give to someone on the team who is not doing their fair share
  2. Never allow silence with a client to last more than a few days - Don’t ignore signs from a client – if they are not responding to email or calls, stay strong and don’t give up
  3. Don’t hide behind email - A. Email can lead to misunderstandings because you can’t hear or see the ‘cues’ - B. Use my rule of never handling any issues over email – pick up the phone
  4. Get real with corporate goals - A. Don’t let an annual review go by with the basic baseline feedback. B. Create a T chart – here is what I need from you – what do you need from me?
  5. Remember that not speaking up and discussing or confronting issues solves nothing….make something happen by speaking up!