Building your own professional and personal resilience

Here are the 10 tips for adaptive conversation:

1. Know your purpose

First and foremost, it's important to figure out why you are having the conversation.

Your intentions should be more than simply to "get something off your chest," which implies a one-sided dialogue. Instead, they should include the other person, too, and your shared reasons for having the conversation.

2. Know your goal

Knowing your goal goes hand in hand with knowing your purpose, but focuses on the outcomes of the conversation. Outline what you hope to achieve from the discussion and your reasons for it.

3. Preparation is key

Once you've worked out your purpose and your goal, think about a few key messages that will help you convey them. Also give some thought to your conversation partners' likely reactions and how you will deal with them.

That does not mean writing a script, however. You should be able to respond as the conversation develops — the other person's response might just surprise you.

4. Stay on message

Once you're ready to have the conversation, make sure you stay true to those key messages and don't let yourself be derailed by the other person's emotions or reactions.

5. Listen actively

Keep an eye out for what is being communicated both verbally and non-verbally. For example, does their body language match what they are saying?

Always remember listen and silent have the same letters for a reason.

When responding, make sure you take the whole picture into account.

6. Ask questions

Gain a better understanding of their point of view by asking questions. Open questions are best for drawing out insightful responses, while "why" questions can provoke defensiveness and should be avoided.

7. Show empathy

Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes and be empathetic to their feelings. Avoid talking about yourself and your experiences and focus on the impact of the situation for them specifically.

8. Be open-minded

Try to approach the conversation with an open mind. If you're harbouring negative feelings then it's far less likely to result in a positive outcome. Plus, there's always a chance that you could be wrong.

9. Recognise their right

Understand that they have a right to be angry, upset, frustrated or emotional about your comments, especially if you have given critical feedback or unwelcome news.

Sometimes the most valuable outcome from a difficult conversation can be giving the other person the opportunity to express themselves and feel heard.

10. Know that the end of the conversation is not the end

Finally, make sure you're available to deal with the possible fallout from the conversation. If you can't be, you should perhaps think twice about having it.