60-Second CPD: How To Have A Difficult Conversation

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Hanna Beech

Hanna Beech has been teaching for ten years and has a range of experience across Key Stages 1 and 2 in a large Primary School in Kent. She is a phase leader for Years 3 and 4, and also leads on teaching and learning for...
Read more about Hanna Beech

How can we say anything to anyone and have that difficult conversation?

In difficult conversations, it can be easy to beat around the bush and avoid the real concerns (and even easier to avoid the conversation completely!).

But if you do that, nothing really changes. Instead, try Shari Harley’s eight-step approach from her book ‘How to Say Anything to Anyone’.

1. Introduce the topic for conversation. Describe what you want to talk about and why.
2. Say, ‘This is difficult for me to say and it might be difficult for you to hear.’
3. Describe the issue, starting with the words ‘I’ve noticed’.
4. Share the impact of the behaviour discussed.
5. Ask them, ‘What are your thoughts?’
6. Make a request or suggestion about what should happen next.
7. Build an agreement.
8. Thank the person for their time, saying, ‘I know this conversation was difficult. Thank you for having it with me.’

Why it works: Preparation for difficult conversations is key. This straightforward approach avoids discomfort and ambiguity.

Don’t put off that conversation – have it this week!

You can find another 238 of these ideas in 60 Second CPD.


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