Critical Conversation Training

Ever felt your stomach churning at the prospect of having that critical conversation with a direct report? Would you rather avoid having to give critical feedback to your team? Well, you really are not alone. Managing tough conversations with a direct report, peer or managing upwards can be challenging. Critical conversations, unlike the majority of everyday chats, are where the stakes are high and there is potentially a lot to lose or gain for those involved. We are hard wired, it seems, to either avoid these conversations at all costs or if we do get stuck in, we more often than not play them badly and demonstrate behaviours that in hindsight we wish we hadn’t. Critical Conversation Training is for anyone in the workplace who wants to improve how they communicate and behave in workplace situations of conflict where the stakes are high.

Preparing effectively, structuring the meeting properly, giving feedback appropriately, listening actively and not being afraid to acknowledge emotions that exist will all aid communication and understanding. Easy to say and write, much harder to do of course. So we will rehearse situations with you repeatedly until you have a much more confident grip.

Remember that with critical conversations there is as much to gain as there is to lose. Clearing the air and re-setting dynamics between two parties can be the perfect way to build relationships and real influencing power within an organisation. Could you even get to the point where you actually look forward to challenging conversation?

Training Outcomes

Our critical conversation training will enable you to:

  • Handle crucial conversations
  • Confront challenging issues with confidence
  • Build trust with your teams
  • Improve dialogue and engagement
  • Build interpersonal relationships
  • Deal with difficult situations
  • Create behaviour change for the better
  • Improve your team’s performance
  • Engage in effective conversations which resolve challenges
  • Give effective feedback
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Greater influencing ability

“People almost never
change without first
feeling understood.”

– Douglas Stone

“A conversation is a dialogue,
not a monologue. That’s why
there are so few good conversations:
Due to scarcity, two intelligent
talkers seldom meet.”

– Truman Capote

Critical Conversation Training Course Details

What will I do?

  • Identify your own style under stress and manage it
  • Do exercises designed to highlight best practice
  • Assertiveness training – what is it, how best to project assertiveness?
  • Listening/advocacy – Practice how to develop active listening skills, how best to convey perspective
  • Input relevant behaviour/personality models
  • Practice effectively challenge upwards, downwards and across using conversation practice
  • Practice feedback techniques through rehearsal process using conversation practice

Duration – Burst (2hours), half day or one day critical conversation training course.

Where does it take place?

  • Client premises, or
  • Independent training venue – there’s nothing like getting away from the desk for a rich learning experience!

How much does it cost?

  • Please contact us at to discuss your specific needs and we’ll put together a quote for you

What have others experienced?

See our blog posts for critical conversation tips

Useful resources

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Call or email to discuss your communication skills training requirements on:

0207 732 1769