1. Think, but not too much!
Obtaining the correct balance between ill-preparedness and over-preparedness can, at first, seem elusive. However, getting this right is crucial to ensuring a successful outcome. From observing many scenarios in the workshop, I learned that thinking carefully about what you want to achieve, how this will impact all conversation participants and the style of language you want to use is the limit of how much you should plan. If you go beyond this, you’ll find yourself descending into a cloud of anxiety as you try to envision every direction in which the conversation could lurch. If you overthink, it is likely you will engage the illogical part of your brain and start concentrating on unlikely outcomes whilst taking focus away from the areas of the conversation you really need to prepare for. Furthermore, if the conversation doesn’t go in the direction you specifically planned for, you can end up worse off and risk looking unprofessional as you could be improvising your responses in a scenario you hadn’t thought about.
2. Use active listening to your advantage
3. Don’t forget the common courtesies
This workshop has been one of my favourites throughout my time so far with SELA. Difficult conversations have always been something I’ve aimed to avoid, however I now realise they are an unavoidable part of professional life. In fact, I would say that if any natural leader wishes climb the career ladder, difficult conversations will have to be had. I now look forward to putting the tips and tricks I have learned in this workshop to use in my future career as an engineer.