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Career Research Services: Challenging Conversations


Effective communication is an essential skill for college students, both in their academic and personal lives. However, challenging conversations can be difficult to navigate, especially when they involve topics that are sensitive or controversial.

  1. Listen actively: When engaging in a challenging conversation, it's important to listen actively to the other person. This means focusing on what they're saying, asking questions to clarify their points, and avoiding interrupting them.
  2. Stay calm: Challenging conversations can be emotional, but it's important to stay calm and composed. Take deep breaths, maintain a neutral tone, and avoid getting defensive or aggressive.
  3. Respect different perspectives: Recognize that the other person may have a different perspective than you, and that's okay. Try to understand their point of view and respect their right to have a different opinion.
  4. Use "I" statements: Instead of pointing fingers and blaming the other person, use "I" statements to express your own feelings and thoughts. For example, instead of saying "You're wrong," say "I see things differently."
  5. Take a break: If the conversation becomes too heated or overwhelming, it's okay to take a break. Suggest reconvening at a later time when everyone has had a chance to cool off and collect their thoughts.
  6. Find common ground: Look for areas of agreement or common ground, even if they're small. This can help to build rapport and make the conversation more productive.
  7. Be open to learning: Challenging conversations can be opportunities to learn and grow. Be open to new ideas and perspectives, and don't be afraid to change your mind if you're presented with compelling evidence or arguments.
  8. Practice empathy: Try to see the situation from the other person's perspective and understand their feelings and motivations. This can help to build empathy and make the conversation more productive.

Additional Guides

Additional Career Research Services Guides to help you research your career goals:

    Searching and Finding Your Dream Job

    Creating Company Lists



    Resumes & Cover Letters


    Salary Research & Negotiations 

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