Navigating Tough Conversations

Navigating Tough Conversations

Three C’s of Communication to Navigate Tough Conversations

Disagreements are bound to happen in any relationship. Learning to navigate tough conversations is part of having healthy relationships. The difficulty is that differences in opinion can sometimes lead to strong negative emotions, such as anger, resentment or disgust, that have the potential to derail discussions.

When tensions rise, it’s important to use the three C’s of communication–confidence, clarity and control–as well as other skills learned from the Master Resilience Training course.

Three C’s of Communication

Confidence: Communicate confidently, believe in your ability to handle the situation, and stay composed. Before engaging in the conversation, take time to fully understand the problem and why it matters to you.

Clarity: Communicate clearly and seek understanding. Sometimes it may help to repeat what the other person said; this demonstrates that you are actively listening and allows the other person to reflect, clarify and/or expand on what they originally expressed if necessary.

Control: Controlled communication requires self-awareness, acknowledgement of one’s thoughts without judgment and the ability to adjust your communications style based on the situation and/or the person.

Additional Tips

  • It is always okay to pause a conversation if necessary, saying something like, “Hey, I think we need to stop this discussion for now.” You and the other person should then agree on a time to resume talking and resolve your differences.
  • Not all conflict and disagreements will be resolved in one conversation. It's important to remain flexible with one’s expectations when seeking a resolution; not everything will go as planned all the time.


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