How to really have difficult conversations.
Don't follow the standard advice.
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If you live on planet Earth, you've had to have difficult conversations, and your days won't be over until a few more. Sadly, the advice you get from people on how to do it won't work. I bet you anything. I am sure you've tried it. Here are some better ideas to try.
Usually, experts recommend the "compliment sandwich," better known as "the shit sandwich." You start out with something positive, bring up the bad news, and end with something positive. Try that at work when you want to fire someone. Let's see how it goes.
You, The Boss, "Hi, how's it going? You look nice today. How are your kids?"
The person about to get fired, "OK, what's up? You didn't call me here to compliment me on my exhausted, disheveled look."
You, "Yeah, you see, we have a problem in your department. We just have too many people. I'll have to fire you right now. But don't worry, I'll give you a great recommendation and won't tell your potential future employer that you play with yourself in the bathrooms during lunch break. That's just between you and me. Thank you for your dedication to your job and contributing to the success of this company!"
How about when you want to break up with someone?
You, the breakeuper, "Hey darling. Thank you for turning off the TV so I can tell you how much I appreciate you. You are an amazing human being. I like the way you take the trash out after the third reminder."
The person who's about to find out that life the way they know it is over, "Cool. Yeah, you're amazing, too. I guess I can proactively take the trash out on the second reminder. We're a team, baby!!!"
You, "Yes, we were. I want to break up with you, so consider this relationship over as of now. I've got my bags packed, and Lyft is downstairs. But on the bright side, now you can take out the trash whenever you like, plus you have all this extra space in the apartment. Thanks for talking about this with me. I appreciate your understanding in this difficult situation."
How about a hostage negotiation?
Good guy, 'Hey, so it looks like you've done a lot of homework preparing for this and are very well equipped."
Bad guy, "Yeah, man. I'm a professional. You know my demands. Give me the money, or our little friend here is gonna be adios."
Good guy, "We think we can get the money, but it won't be for a while. We're doing the best we can. Sorry for the disappointment and the delay. Thank you for reaching out to us. We look forward to working with you soon."
Bad guy, "OK, every day you sit on ass, the miss loses a finger. When she runs out of fingers, we may just kill her. Why not?"
Yep, it's not going to work. Guaranteed. Don't use the "shit sandwich" unless you want to eat some.