This two-hour workshop will explore different types of difficult conversations, how to manage these effectively and enable delegates to be in control of a difficult conversation at all stages of the interaction, so that they can achieve the desired outcome. Attendees will learn how to adapt conversation styles to suit a variety of behaviours types and situations that arise when dealing with sensitive or emotional issues, grievances or complaints, which have to be dealt with in a professional, polite and effective manner.

This programme will equip front line staff and other health care professionals in General Practice with skills and the confidence to manage difficult conversations, disputes and to better prepare them to deal with challenging conflict situations. We will consider how and why conflict may arise between staff members, patients or their carers around access to services, treatments and other aspects of practice life – and we will introduce strategies and toolkits that will help delegates tackle these head on.

By the end of this workshop, delegates will be able to:

  • Address their own experiences with difficult conversations and how to handle these better
  • Overcome fears of dealing with difficult conversations
  • Understand behaviour and strategies for dealing with these
  • Understand what makes a conversation difficult and learn new strategies be able to prepare effectively for them
  • Have increased their ability to manage their and others emotions successfully
  • Recognise the importance of communicating effectively and enhance existing communication skills, e.g. questioning and listening skills
  • Communicate difficult messages assertively and respond appropriately to challenging behaviours

Guidance notes and will be provided to support this workshop and certificates of attendance are awarded after the workshop.

12:45 Registration and refreshments
13:00 Introduction and welcome
13:05 Open Forum: People’s experiences of Difficult Conversations
• Participants’ experience, examples and confidence in this area
• Personal objectives
13:25 Planning and Preparation
• The importance of planning and preparation
• Planning template
• Establishing clear outcomes
• Anticipating difficult responses
• Overcoming barriers to holding these conversations
14:00 Toolkit for Successful Conversations
• Managing your body language
• Speaking persuasively
• Structuring the conversation, four stage approach:
o Getting off to an effective start
o Understanding the situation and exploring issues and reasons
o Exploring options and agreeing a way forward
o An effective ending
• Active listening
• Asking questions
• Probing techniques
14:30 Top Tips for Handling Difficult Conversations and Responses
• Anticipating conflict
• Handling Emotional Responses
• Strategies for dealing with different responses
• Mutual respect
• Common ground
• Staying in control
• When to walk away
• When things don't work
15:00 Close