Managing Difficult Conversations Course Description

Understanding how to manage difficult conversations is essential when presenting negative findings, providing critical feedback, addressing controversial issues, delivering tough messages, and working with difficult stakeholders or team members. Interpersonal communication and conflict resolution is at the heart of effective work, so while we usually think of “managing difficult conversations” as a skill needed by supervisors and managers, in fact, it is something we all need to learn how to do.

In this highly interactive session, participants will learn practical and actionable techniques to better approach the delivery of negative findings, manage difficult stakeholders, and navigate controversial situations. This course is ideal for program managers, evaluators, research and social scientists, technical assistance providers, and more.

Participants will get to take (and debrief the results of) a self-assessment to learn about their own conversation and communication style preferences. Presentations and applied case studies/conversation scenarios will help learners identify:

  • The three levels of conversations, with particular focus on difficult conversations (facts, ego, identity) and how they show up in evaluation and non-evaluation work context

  • Top techniques to make and manage difficult conversations (third story, contribution system, others) to better engage stakeholders

  • Application to evaluation context

Managing Difficult Conversations is delivered in one virtual instructor-led module and includes role-play and pair practice of real difficult conversations. Participants who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate of completion.

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