Business discussions come in many forms. Unfortunately, some of them can be more difficult than others, like discussions on how to engage employees. Knowing how to handle a difficult business discussion is a skill that any manager should possess. Whether you have to address an employee’s poor performance, discuss budget cuts or work on conflict resolution among coworkers, you will need to know these seven tips below.
The first step to having a difficult business conversation is proper planning. Before you address the employee directly, take a moment to consider what needs to happen in this conversation. If it helps, jot down the points you would like to make during your meeting. Whether you are using webinar software or meeting in person, having all of your concerns outlined will be helpful in keeping focused later on.
Make Eye Contact
Make eye contact with the people in your business discussions, particularly when they are speaking or when you are. Eye contact is one of the most important communication skills. This is even true when you are just video conferencing someone from your virtual office. Making eye contact while speaking shows that you are focused and listening to what the person is saying. It also makes you seem more genuine and receptive. If you are trying to navigate a tough business discussion, make sure to look the other participants in the eye.
Another important tip for these types of meetings is to provide your employee with an informative initiation. Essentially, this means that should provide them with a context of the meeting when you are setting up a time to talk, instead of sending them cutesy growth quotes. Knowing ahead of time what you will be discussing may help to soothe your employee’s nerves and allows them to collect their thoughts. Additionally, a little mental preparation or notice can lead to better input from your team.
Do not be afraid to ask questions in regards to topics and concepts you are unfamiliar with. When you are having a business discussion or conducting an employee performance evaluation, there are sure to be topics that arise that you are not an expert in. Ask questions about anything you do not understand. This not only makes you look smart, it will actually improve outcomes of the conversation. People like when their listeners are engaged. Asking questions proves that you are engaged in the business discussion and want to make the most informed decision possible. Make sure to employ this business discussions tip.
In order to have a successful business discussion, you need to provide feedback. It is best to get to the point in this regard. Make sure that your feedback is simple and relevant to the discussion. If you are working on building mobile apps, you should have examples and specific evidence for feedback. This is where the notes you wrote during the planning stage may come in handy.
Once you provide feedback it is important to give your employee an opportunity to respond. Listening to their side of the story can provide you with insight into what is not working and what difficulties they have been facing in the workplace. Listening is also one of the most effective motivation factors. Take the time to consider their feelings and make a mental note of what things you can fix.
Next, it is important to work on problem solving. In order to have a productive business discussion like this, you will want to come to a resolution. If you are managing conflict between two employees, consider what you can all do to promote a more positive relationship. If you are addressing an employee’s performance, consider what you can do within the KPIs to help manage them more effectively. To reach common ground, an adequate agreement requires careful consideration and communication.
Finally, another important tip for managing a difficult business discussion is to maintain confidentiality. The conversations you have during these one-on-one meetings should be kept between the two of you even when using unified communications services. If you have concerns, it is also possible for an HR representative to be present as well. However, other employees should not be involved if it is not necessary. This provides employees with a safe space to work out issues with you privately.
Having a difficult business conversation can be just as stressful for the manager as it is for an employee. In order to have a successful and productive conversation, it is essential that you follow these tips above. Planning, feedback and confidentiality are all necessary for a proper business discussion.
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