7 Tips for Overcoming Confrontation Anxiety

Catherine Recruiting

7 Tips for Overcoming Confrontation Anxiety

There are very few people who enjoy confrontation – they’re called difficult conversations for a reason. Unfortunately, they’re also an inevitable part of working with other people. If you’re someone who tends to shy away from the awkwardness of confronting an employee or co-worker, these 7 tips are good starting point for overcoming that anxiety.

1. Don’t delay the inevitable
The longer you avoid the conversation, the longer it takes to resolve the situation. It will come to a head one way or another, so having some control over when and how it happens will allow you to be more confident in your handling of it.

2. Have the facts
Make sure that you know exactly what it is you are going to talk about and have the necessary evidence to back up your statements. Working on hearsay and vague details only adds confusion and may escalate tensions.

3. Plan your words carefully
It’s very easy for the conversation to become too relaxed or too confrontational, so making sure that you know what you want to say and how to say it assertively (without being argumentative) will allow for a more productive and helpful conversation.

4. Watch your emotions
People are naturally defensive when confronted and this can lead to heightened emotions that can quickly turn nasty. Try to stay as calm as possible, sticking to the facts of the issue at hand.  If an argument starts, try to deescalate it, as a shouting match won’t resolve the problem and may make things worse.

5. Explore solutions together
Just pointing out the problem is not enough – go one step further by offering suggestions of things that could improve the situation going forward (always being sure that you’re offering this advice in a non-aggressive and supportive way). In turn, allow the other person to offer their own solutions. From there, the two of you can agree on a way forward.

6. Allow them to ask questions
You’re having a conversation, not lecturing them. Make sure that you leave space for them to ask you any questions they might have. Not only does this give the person you are confronting an opportunity to process what’s being said, it ensures that both of you are on the same page and understanding each other.

7. Follow up
Don’t just leave the conversation there. Give it some time and check in with the person again. If the problem is resolved, make sure that you acknowledge the effort the other person has put in to helping resolve it. If the problem persists, bring up your proposed solutions again and try another one if it seems the first didn’t work out.

By staying calm, rational, and sticking to the facts during difficult conversations, you’ll find yourself less anxious the next time you have to confront someone.