Often, we make the assumption that because the questions are tough to ask, the answers will be hard to endure and make us feel worse— which is NOT what anyone wants—but it doesn’t always work that way. When done correctly, asking difficult questions can lead to a better outcome than originally intended.
Here are some tips to help you ask difficult questions, at work and in home life:
- Be direct. Don’t beat around the bush, it doesn’t help you. Focus on what you say and the answer you want to receive.
- Be prepared. Worst case scenario does happen sometimes, so it is best to anticipate these outcomes and your response to them. Don’t EXPECT it, but definitely understand that bad outcomes can and do happen: your response to these scenarios reflect your character and your leadership qualities.
- Be honest. Tough conversations do happen, but your transparency about your intentions will always be respectable. Being honest in a conversation where both sides understand the gravity of the inquiry builds an element of trust, and trust builds a very strong foundation for your relationships, personal and professional.
- Be patient in body and mind. Quiet your body language and focus on calmness. Give others your undivided attention during these difficult conversations. When you’re patient, you’re more approachable and people will tend to trust in you more.
Difficult conversations are inevitable in life, whether it be part of work, or other relationships. Your goals in these situations should always be that your concerns are coming across clearly, that you’re getting the answers you need, and that you’re fostering trust in your relationships through honesty and transparency.