1. Clarify before reacting. Be curious before making a judgment. Feel a feeling; ask a question. Jumping to argumentconclusions is not the kind of exercise you want.
  2. Declare what you need. Don’t stuff your emotions. Get out what’s bothering you onto the table before keeping score and determining you are losing. And remember that no one is a mind-reader.
  3. Go to your corner and take a time out. Regain composure before getting into problem-solving mode. You can’t think while seeing red. Time-outs are just fine when emotions rise.
  4. Attack the problem, not the person.  Even put the agreed-upon issue on a piece of paper and put it on the table, to pull it away from the person and focus on exactly what needs resolution. To be kind is to be clear; to be clear is to be kind.

If you need some more tips on tough talks, contact me at pcgrowingforward@gmail.com