having a difficult conversation remotely

#33: Having a difficult conversation remotely? Don’t forget to do this.

There mostly isn’t that much of a difference between having a conversation in real life or online. But there are a few key elements that do change and you need to pay attention too. I will give you five tips to have a positive outcome with a difficult conversation.

1- Prepare your conversations

Preparation is key! While having online conversations, you lose some of your senses you would have normally. It becomes harder to notice how a person reacts to what you say. That is why it’s essential that you know exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it. But other than preparing the conversation on paper, it is important that you prepare yourself emotionally and somatically. So pay attention to your body disposition and mindset when talking to your colleague. In podcast number 8, I talk about methodologies for countering bad decisions and preparing conversations. Check out the link below if you want to listen to that podcast!

2- Pick a good time and place

In real life, it can be easy to go for a walk or go to a restaurant, but sadly, most of these things just aren’t possible right now. However, it is still important that both you and your colleague can have a conversation in a calm environment. Put yourself in a room where you know nothing will disturb you and ask your colleague to do the same thing.

3- Use video

Like I’ve said before while having online conversations, you lose some of your senses that would help you figure out what the other person is thinking or feeling. To minimize this, use video when having conversations! Simply adding a face to a voice makes the conversation more personal. Showing a good body disposition and tone of voice will help improve the authenticity of your conversation. 

4- Listen empathically

Why is being empathic so important? Often when we don’t agree on something or have a conflict, it is because we have different assumptions and interpretations. As you know, everything we do is based on our own interpretations of the facts. So try to really listen to your colleague and leave your assumptions behind, because often, the only thing people want, is to be heard. Even if this person is in a bad mood, but they notice you are listening, their mood will change positively and they will become more open to your feedback. You can show them you are really listening to them in a couple of ways. Rephrase what they are saying so you show you understand what they said or ask them an open question without giving them advice.

Once they are open to feedback, try talking about the actions that the person did instead of the person. It is way more efficient and less hurtful. Instead of saying

“You’re a lazy failure .”


“The report you have delivered wasn’t great enough…”

5- Agreeing on a next step

It often takes time for feedback to sink in. When you notice people don’t accept the feedback in the first place, they will often think about it afterward and maybe change their mind, or become open to discussing the subject. So instead of trying to fix the problem instantly, try to assess if the person needs time to process the feedback and agree on a next meeting. 

We also prepared a free bundle on how to bring informal conversations and fun to the remote team. You can download it at the link below!

See you later 😊.

qileader authentic leadership

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