Comms Lab: The Good Start

Comms Lab: Episode 4

How to Get Any Difficult Conversation Off to a Good Start.

Often the hardest part of any difficult conversation is just getting started.

In the time-pressured world of healthcare, embarking on a difficult conversation is a particularly daunting prospect.

Whether it’s a challenging negotiation with a patient, or a difficult feedback session with a junior colleague, starting a conversation like this can feel like you’re diving down a rabbit hole with no end.

Fortunately, the communication skills literature provides us with some strategies that will maximise the odds that we get things off to a good start.

…which, of course, increases the odds that we arrive at a good ending.

In this video, I share the 3 strategies that I’ve found to be the most useful for initiating difficult conversations in my work as an emergency physician.

Remarkably, there is also evidence that these strategies also save time.

Plus, you get to meet my dog, Gatsby.

0:52 – The Hardest part?
1:00 – The Basic Assumption
2:50 – Get the Setting Right
4:30 – Set the Agenda Early



Further Links

Comms Lab

A path to highly effective communication skills

Hayden is an emergency physician at University Hospital Geelong and a senior lecturer at Deakin University, Geelong. He is somewhat obsessed with the science and art of effective communication, and in particular: difficult conversations. He believes that we can all get better at having difficult conversations, and that the process of learning to do so can be seriously fun.

Hayden is also an avid but terrible surfer, ad hoc gardener, and dad to two awesome kids.

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