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Crucial conversations

Gilly Meek, Accredited Think on Your Feet® Trainer

There are times in our career when we all have to have difficult conversations. As Managers, we may need to have a conversation with a team member to discuss a required behavioural change; the need to work from home; or be furloughed.  

These types of conversations are inevitable and necessary. However, they can sometimes feel very uncomfortable. Especially if we’ve little or no time to plan what we are going to say.  

Trying to communicate sensitive messages, is not only difficult to phrase, but it can also cause an emotional response from them (and potentially you too!)  

A lot of Managers choose to avoid these difficult conversations; however, this is not a good choice. You won’t see the desired behavioural change, if you don’t have the conversation!  

Getting your message across

So, how can you make conversations easier to have and how can you make sure you get your message across clearly?  

Think on Your Feet® techniques (called ‘Plans’) are the most powerful tool to use.  They ensure that you have a clear and brief message, that is delivered in a calm and considered fashion. They also ensure that you don’t “ramble” which is what can often happen when we are anxious or emotional.  

How does this work?  

Think on Your Feet® shows you how to package your message around three key points.  This gives you an agenda for what you are going to say and helps you to stay focused.  

So, for example, if you are talking to a team member about a desired behavioural change, you could talk about:

  1. The existing behaviour
  2. The impact of that behaviour
  3. The alternative/new behaviour


Or, you could talk about:

  1. What’s going well with their performance
  2. A behavioural change to work on
  3. Support you can offer them in making the change


And even:

  1. Where they were a few months ago
  2. Where they are now
  3. What you would like to see from them in a few months


There are no set rules on what your three ‘things’ are, as such. The idea is that you lay out the three things you are going to talk about, and then talk about them.  

By delivering your communication around three key points, it makes it much easier for your listener to follow and remember what you are saying – and for you to stay on track. This will help a great deal when having a conversation where you are at risk of emotions running high.  

Six main Plans and three support Plans

Think on Your Feet® provides you with six main plans and three support plans, with plenty of time to learn and practice them.  

Online and face-to-face Think on Your Feet® workshops

Indigo offer Think on Your Feet® workshops online and face-to-face for individuals and teams:

  • Public workshops (online and face-to-face in major UK cities).
  • In-house (online and face-to-face for groups and teams, worldwide).
  • Training your trainers (face-to-face accreditation for corporate trainers with large groups to train).


More about Gilly Meek Gilly is an accredited Think on Your Feet®, Lateral Thinking, Six Thinking Hats®, The Skilled Presenter™ and Stakeholder Engagement (including Simulation)™ trainer and has delivered these workshops to numerous clients. Gilly also trains in Management Skills, Negotiation Skills, Facilitation Skills‎, Impact & Influence and Time-Management.

Prior to joining Indigo, Gilly managed the learning and development function for Global Radio, the UK’s largest radio organisation; training and coaching employees across a number of brands including Heart, LBC and Galaxy Radio. During her time at Global Radio, she ran several management development and sales development programmes.