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Navigating Difficult Conversations – Part 1

Have you ever had to navigate a difficult situation?

Maybe it was a consequence of your decisions and maybe you were trying to help keep peace between others but navigating difficult situations is an important competency for every IC pastor/leader.

Today I would like to share part 1 and next week add some more perspective in part 2.

Here’s a few thoughts to begin for what they’re worth:

1. Start by clarifying the tension
Once people are emotionally involved, it’s difficult to articulate what the original intent of the conversation was. Don’t ever make someone feel ambushed or surprised about the reason to meet. Begin by framing the tensions and what needs to be resolved.

2. Always meet face to face
We have adopted a communication policy at VCC: emails and texts are for information, phone calls for clarification but face to face for confrontation. Don’t allow anything that involves emotions to be communicated via email or text messages. Meeting face to face usually forces people to be more mature in their words.

3. Use the S.A.L.T model
Listening is the most important thing you can do in a confrontational discussion. Taking time to pause and listen will demonstrate you are willing to understand and is key to diffuse anger or other emotions. Use the S.A.L.T. model to guide your conversation:

S – Say anything. Just get the conversation started with small talk.

A – Ask questions. Be sensitive to where you should focus attention.

L – Listen well. Listening will be your greatest response. People need to feel heard.

T – Turn the conversations to solutions. The goal is to finish with clarity and action steps.

I look forward to sharing more next week.

We’re praying you have a powerful weekend gathering!


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