How to Have Difficult Conversations

Aug 17, 2020

Let discuss a scenario we’ve all experienced–that moment when your inner voice is telling you (sometimes maybe screaming at you) that you need to have a difficult conversation with someone. A conversation that would improve life at work for ourselves and for everyone else around. But fear drowns out that inner voice—and we put the conversation off. Meanwhile, the other individual continues to engage in interpersonal conflicts and exhibit toxic behavior, or remains completely clueless about what’s on your mind.

In this episode, we’ll share with you the strategies and insights you need to know to be able to speak up and diffuse any difficult conversation.


[01:26] Why diffusing difficult conversations matter
[05:19] What does the research show on these conversations
[08:22] Having difficult conversations is a skill
[10:03] 5-step framework to having difficult conversations


“Reframe having difficult conversations as a skill. Do you have the skill or do you not have the skill and if you don’t have the skill, then like any skill, it can be learned.” – Nikki Barua

“Step 1 of the framework is to not avoid having difficult conversations. You will never develop the skill if you do not practice it.” – Nikki Barua

“Be clear on the outcome. If you’re not clear about what you want, you’re not going to be able to manage your physiology and your language and you’re going to lose control.” – Nikki Barua

“Brainstorm from a place of inquiry and creativity to figure out a solution together, creating collaboration and safety so you can engage in a more meaningful conversation.” – Nikki Barua

About Nikki Barua:

Nikki Barua is a digital innovator, serial entrepreneur, author & speaker. Learn more at

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About Monica Marquez:

Monica Marquez is an ex-Googler, diversity expert and senior corporate leader. Learn more at

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