Making Tough Workplace Conversations Productive: #Goals

Written by Golzar Meamar

June 29, 2017


If you want to have more productive workplace conversations, know your main goal. Clear workplace communication hinges on goal-oriented conversation. Here are three steps to clarifying and goal-orienting a workplace conversation gone awry:

What’s the most important takeaway?

Ask yourself key questions to help establish the main thing you want to take away from the conversation.  How did you get here? If you’re encountering a challenging conversation or a disagreement consider these questions: Was there a miscommunication? How can you avoid similar future miscommunications? What were you trying to get out of the conversation that was missed by the other party, or was unclear in the long-run to yourself? Then, choose one main goal for your next conversation. Focus on that one goal. Achieve that one goal. Often, in difficult conversations, the one-step-at-a-time policy helps both sides focus and get to agreement.

Reframe the conversation.

Now that you have identified the goal of the conversation, enact a positive reframe. Change your mindset from “defensive” to “actively seeking a positive solution.” Reframe your mindset towards the conversation and focus on moving productively towards the larger goal.  For a positive reframe – always consider your conversation counterpart. Are they your peer? Are they your superior? Are they your subordinate? Do you typically see eye-to-eye? Or, do you more often find yourselves believing in opposing viewpoints? Use this information to gauge the level of direct language you can use.

Based on the identified goal…


Take the initiative and ask to have another conversation with your coworker. Discuss and clarify the point of the conversation at hand. Reset after you have discussed the issue. Focus on keeping the conversation goal-centric, and make productive strides towards achieving your long-term goal.