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Conversations that make us feel awkward

Have you ever spent time worrying about how you were going to tell someone something that you wanted to tell them or ask someone something that was important?

It should be easy but our emotions about what we want to ask or share or our concerns about how we will be judged get in the way.

So here’s how to get started

  • Plan and rehearse.
  • When you are calm, list the main points you want to ask or  share and what you want in response.
  • Think about the right time and place.
  • Who is the right person and are you the right person to be in this conversation?.
  • Who can you trust?
  • Identify the conditions you need to talk openly e.g. confidentiality. Let them know in advance if it is a work situation.
  • Start the conversation with honesty and recognising the ‘hat’ you might be wearing and any limitations e.g .Manager
  • ‘I have been worried about this’. ‘I am finding this difficult and I might be a bit wobbly’ eg. employee. ‘This might be a difficult conversation but I want to support you’, e.g. manager. This helps the other person get into the right head space to hear or support you.

How to be there when someone opens up  to you

If an employee or someone talks to you about some of their difficulties, there are ways that you can support them without judgement.


  • Give them space to find the words, listen patiently, and acknowledge their important feelings and experiences.
  • A useful structure to active listening can be –
  • Setting the Boundaries and expectations of the conversation, particularly if it is a work situation.
  • Understanding the background to their situation.
  • Appreciating the Affect and Impact of  this situation upon them. (Feelings etc)
  • he most Troubling aspect/concern, not assuming and with compassionate curiosity.
  • Listening to how they are coping and handling their difficulties.
  • Showing compassion, empathy and non-judgemental support through out. Ask questions , reassure
  • Agreeing next steps (plan) if appropriate for them and you eg. meeting again etc.

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Telephone: 01702-332857

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