Set the Table for Tough ConversationsDec 11, 2023
Tough conversation ahead? Be sure to set the table.
Resist the urge to launch into feedback and coaching without a proper setup.
When we dive into a crucial conversation or fraternal correction without first making a request for the other party to join us, we will likely catch the other person off-guard.
Have you found that people caught off-guard are open and receptive to whatever comes next?
But tough conversations must happen at work, at home, and everywhere else where we interact with other humans. Make these crucial moments more productive by first setting the table and requesting permission.
Use language like:
“Hey Jeff, I’d like to offer you feedback when you have a few minutes. Is now a good time?”
“Could you let me know when you have 15 minutes to meet today, I have some coaching I’d like to offer to you?”
Ten seconds of effort will create a more open, more receptive environment, allowing the recipient to disconnect from their current stream of thought and accept your invitation to engage. This approach also allows the recipient to explain why now might not be the best time and instead, they can suggest a different time that works better.
Learn to set the table.
Your language and approach are tools for higher impact and better outcomes.