1: be clear about your issues: if you are calling the meeting, think through what your issues and concerns are – you will need to be specific, and have evidence
2: know what outcome you want/prefer: know what for you would be a satisfactory outcome
3: anticipate their reactions: how might they react; what might be their objections? Put yourself in their shoes, then mentally address their concerns, before you have the meeting – ie what will be your response to any likely objections?
4: avoid ‘us/them’: don’t make it a battleground. Seek and agree common ground or principles at the outset. Also this helps create a positive dialogue – “can we agree…?” “so we both believe…”
5: acknowledge and build on their strengths and assets: keep the issue in perspective – confirm what’s good about them, their performance, your relationship
6: consider, identify and acknowledge your contribution to the difficulty: it takes two to tango….what have you done, or not done, that has led to this point, this conversation needing to occur?
7: ask ‘what would it take?’: if they seem reluctant to accept or move, ask them what it would take to get their movement or buy in…this changes the dynamic, from simple resistance to contributing a solution
8: focus on consequences, not just behaviour: people are often more persuaded by the consequences of their action, rather than any focus on the action itself. Consequences are where the reasons for change lie
9: stay professional: manage your emotions, your tone of voice, and your behaviour; stay calm throughout
10: what next? if there is complete resistance and inflexibility from the other person, despite your best efforts, then know what you will say to close the meeting, to avoid stalemate – ie what you will do next