Handling Difficult Conversations

Building confidence and achieving constructive outcomes

Next open course: 3 July 2024

The ability to communicate openly and productively with colleagues, customers and partners is a vital work skill. But at times, this can be a challenge. Conversations around performance or behaviour, customer complaints, disagreements or bad news, can all be difficult to navigate. 

As a result, such conversations are often ducked or mishandled, with the result that problems are either kicked down the road or made even worse. 

It’s vital then, that we learn to handle these tricky interactions skillfully, confidently and with emotional maturity.

This course provides a powerful framework for doing just this, and teaches a set of techniques that will help you navigate even the most difficult conversations with confidence. 

With a focus on maintaining emotional control and finding a path to a successful resolution, the programme can be adapted to address a wide range of communication scenarios. It can be delivered at your offices or as live virtual training.  

"Our trainer has been superb in her contact with us and personalisation of the course content including work specific role plays to meet our needs from start to finish… Working with Cambridge Exec has been a massive success and has provided a large section of our colleagues across the business with the tools and techniques to transform difficult conversations into every day conversations"
Alexandra Willians
Northern Gas

What participants will learn

This intensive session has been designed to have maximum practical impact in a short time. The topics covered include:

  • Preparing for a challenging conversation effectively
  • Ways to structure a tricky conversation to maintain control
  • Tools and techniques to build communication confidence
  • Setting clear expectations, including knowing when to say ‘no’
  • Handling difficult attitudes and strong emotions
  • Selecting the appropriate approach when passing on unwelcome news
  • How to remain calm, assertive and in ‘adult’ mode
  • Thinking through how the other person / people might respond – and how you’ll respond in return
  • How to spot what happens when your buttons are pressed and how to manage emotional responses
  • Increasing your emotional intelligence
  • Ensuring your conversations are always constructive
  • Managing resistance from the other person calmly
  • Coming to mutually satisfactory conclusions

How to book

Open courses

Next course:

3 July – 9:30am – 4:30pm via Zoom


£395+VAT per person

In-house courses

If you have a group of four or more who could benefit from this course, we can deliver a private session just for you, whether online or at your offices.

In most cases we can provide a quote with some basic information:

  • How many delegates need to be trained
  • Roughly when you would want the training delivered
  • Whether you are interested in virtual or classroom delivery

Just drop us a line with these basic facts and we’ll get back to you with a no-obligation quote on the same day.

Clients include:

Cambridge Exec clients - leadership

About us

Cambridge Exec is a boutique learning consultancy made up of a select team of specialists in workplace wellbeing, communications and people-oriented leadership and management. We deliver training and coaching, and conduct research and analysis that supports your people-centred workplace culture.

For twenty years we’ve been helping organisations ranging from small startups to international brands to build their people’s capacities, enhance wellbeing and boost engagement and productivity at work.

Sally Prescott

Sally has years of experience supporting organisations to deliver exceptional service, leadership and communications. She is a qualified coach and is licensed to deliver a wide range of training programmes. Whether through classroom or virtual training, Sally's energy, knowledge and experience have a lasting impact on those she teaches.

kate small

Kate Jennings

A highly experienced trainer, coach and consultant with a commercial background in product development, Kate has worked with clients in the UK, Europe and US to develop and deliver classroom and virtual professional skills programmes.

Joanna Markham - Cambridge Executive Development

Joanna Markham

Joanna developed her vast knowledge over a long career as an academic and senior leader in industry. As a consultant she has worked with some of the world’s biggest companies, helping develop the professional and leadership skills of people ranging from new starters to CEOs.