Avoiding a difficult conversation is a bad idea specifically because not talking will only give the situation time to become even worse. Lisa B. Marshall offers six steps at The Public Speaker to having that important talk before it is too late to salvage the situation:
- Consider the other person’s perspective.
- Prepare for a difficult conversation.
- Discuss possible issues ahead of time.
- Actively listen and reflect.
- Present alternatives.
- Take action.
It may be useful if you build toward the inevitable talk ahead of time, by casually referencing issues that will become pertinent when the talk arrives. It is good to give the other person time to digest ideas.