Stop Avoiding Difficult Conversations

In your tourism business you might manage a team, lead the business, need to talk to superiors, work with clients, or at home with a partner, or dealing with children, these types of conversations are around us all day long.

Are you needing to have a conversation with someone?

It could be a business discussion or something personal.

It’s on your mind. It’s been niggling, bugging you and you’ve been putting it off?

Here are a few ideas on how to stop avoiding difficult Conversations and be courageous for constructive conversations instead!


Start by asking yourself why you’ve been putting it off?

Is it that you think it’s going to be an awkward, painful, tough or quite an uncomfortable conversation?

Maybe for you or the other person/people?

What is it that you currently believe is going to be the outcome of the ‘said’ conversation?

Do you already think it’s going to end in tears, you probably won’t get what you want, or you won’t be listened to?

Or it won’t be received well on the other end?


Difficult conversations are important!

In the easy conversations we have, because we can control the way they go, we’re confident about the outcome and we’re more likely to have no or less emotional attachment to what happens. We know we’ll be ok and it’s comfortable.

However, for most of us, it’s the difficult conversations that take us out of our comfort zone, that are the trickiest.

These are invariably the most important conversations to have, to get better at, and improve our skills around.

Will they ever be easy? No, I doubt it, however, I know from practice, they certainly become easier.

The more we ignore or hold off on the conversations, the more intensity and expectation builds up in our mind.

Suddenly we can find ourselves climbing the mountain rather than the molehill, as the saying goes.


So back to the conversation you know you need to have. Stop running the avoidance, and procrastination strategy.

Use this 5-step technique to prepare for difficult conversations, and feel calm, confident and ready.


  1. Get Clear On Why

Why does having the conversation matter?

Relief, clarity, focus, attention, recognition, significance, (………) Insert why it matters to you here. If you’re thinking it’s because then you’ll have what you want. Eg. a pay rise or a 4 day week or new member on the team. Then ask yourself a different question.

Ask yourself “What will these things mean to me?”:

Payrise – could mean improved finance – which will mean saving money – financial progress.

A 4-day week – could mean self-care/nurture, or opportunity for volunteering at school, or could mean the possibility to work on your own business as a shift away from full-time employment (depending on your situation, obviously).

A new member on in your tourism business’ team – could mean being more efficient/productive, business growth, delegation, and progress.


  1. Shift your Focus

Stop wondering how to have the conversation and shift your focus.

Do you wonder and contemplate having a conversation with someone, but you’re not sure how, so you literally think to yourself: “How am I going to do this or have this conversation….?”

Because it’s a difficult one, challenging or tricky. If you do, change the focus. Make sure you concentrate your energy and focus on “Why am I having this conversation?”

There are two tricks to this question.

It presupposes you will have the conversation (no backing out or down). It shifts your energy to a higher purpose and more effective focus.

So you are why could be any number of these reasons or more eg. financial progress, self-care, opportunity, contribution, possibility, business growth, delegation etc.


  1. What outcome do you want?

Now your why is clear and more focused, what do you want out of the conversation – more specifically:

List the things you want:

– To feel acknowledged and validated

– To engage in a two-way conversation

– To be heard and listened to

– To provide feedback on a situation

– To get your viewpoint across

– To understand the set-up/situation/system (if it’s applicable)

– To get a feel for the tourism company perspective, policy or procedure (or if it’s personal – it’s to understand the other person’s perspective – take the business/company out of it)

– To discuss options, next steps and where to from here

Now you have an extensive list of things you want….

Ask yourself “Is there anything else I’d really like?”


  1. Consider the other person or people

Now consider if is there anything that would be beneficial for the other person?

Maybe consider these:

– If I removed judgment and didn’t go like a bull at a gate?

– If I speak up, and value myself, despite hesitation and fear, the company (or person) needs to hear my perspective?

– If I trust myself and know I have what it takes to say what needs to be said because it brings value either to the business, company, organisation, partnership, relationship…


  1. Keep being your best self

The final key step to preparing and having these difficult conversations is to absolutely know you will do the best you can with the resources you currently have. Trust the skills, knowledge and education you have (Chant this as you walk into the conversation), and stay true to your values.


Yes, there’s a lot more to it, but for now practice, practice and practice some more

If you know you want to build your skill around being better at these conversations, investigate learning more. There are other very important factors with communication, written and spoken, tonality, our physiology, also your content, and how to develop and use a great structure for having these types of difficult conversations.

Most importantly practice, practice and practice some more. We can only build muscle by working out, not thinking about it.

So get out of your head and get into the ‘gym’, put these tips into practice and have the conversations you want and need to have.

Genevieve ‘Facing Difficult Conversations’ Matthews



P.S Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you develop and work on your tourism business leadership capabilities:

  1. Grab a free copy of Smash Indecision and Overwhelm, 4 Steps for Better Business Leadership E-book
    It’s the road map to overcoming doubt and indecision, how to deal with “overwhelm” to improve your business leadership capabilities. — Click Here
  1. Join the Tourism Business Leader’s Facebook group and connect with like-minded leaders focused on building highly effective teams
    It’s our Facebook community where smart leaders get to learn more about creativity, leadership and performance for tourism business success. —Click Here
  1. Join our Tourism Pro-Team Program
    Helping tourism business leaders develop their skills to improve engagement, accountability and performance of the team. If you’d like to work with me so you can stop being reactive, have the difficult conversations and drive performance to get the results you want and know the business need then…message PRO to me here and I’ll get you all the details.
  1. Let’s get the Whole Team Together
    Would you like a different perspective and someone else at the front of the room or on zoom/teams to lead regular and consistent team building, accountability, and engaging learning experiences, that drive results and outcomes for individuals, teams, and the business? If you feel a little challenged with everything going on, maybe sounding like a cracked recorded saying things repeatedly, or actually not 100% how to motivate and inspire the team, given the current nature of business, it may be useful for us to chat. Message TEAM to me here… and tell me a little about the business, your team, and what you’d like to work on together.

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