It’s tough to communicate effectively when emotions are running high. And knowing how to deliver bad news—without making things worse—is especially difficult for most people. Whether it’s a conflict with clients or a conflict in the workplace, you need to use language that helps you control a conversation and make positive impressions.
Sounds simple, right? Not exactly.
That’s why you need to develop messaging for the average business crisis long before it occurs.
Think of it as creating a message archive—pre-written language that addresses the most pertinent business issues you’re likely to face so that you can lessen the odds of putting your reputation at risk.
Here are a few tips to help you craft messages that can be used to manage conflicts:
- Determine what your core values are. These values are what you want others to believe about you. They serve as a foundation to draw from for every message you write. You can’t create a consistent, relatable voice without them.
- Craft messages that can be used to address future conflicts. In all cases, describe what is true for you and cast everyone else involved in as favorable and considerate a light as possible. The more objective your message, the greater your chance of successfully dealing with the situation.
- Practice delivering messages when times are good. Don’t wait until you’re in a pinch to try out your messages. Rehearse them on a regular basis and they will naturally roll off your tongue when—not if—you need them.
Sounds daunting? Chunk it down. Make a list of negative and positive business issues. Then, starting with the top three, find the words that best express your goals and values in those scenarios. Stick with this process until you’ve tackled every item on your list. This will ensure that you’re never at a loss for the right words.
Before you act . . .
Pay attention to words effective leaders use to achieve their goals? Learn from their example . . . but strive for authenticity. People quickly tire of parrots repeating buzz words.
What words work for you? You’ve probably faced a conflict or two in your professional life. What are some of the words you’ve found to be most helpful when you’re under pressure?