Most of us struggle with talking about sensitive subjects successfully. For example, what do you do if you have a leader that creates a new policy that everyone must follow and the leader is the worst offender? What kind of question can you use to help solve the problem?

Use a conciliatory question. This type of question creates positive feelings or rapport when you begin to discuss a sensitive subject or there is a lack of understanding between participants.

How does it work? You state the subject of the conversation you need to have and elicit attitudinal responses. What’s the biggest obstacle? Sounding patronizing and others may feel insulted.

What’s an example of skillfully using a conciliatory question? Have a peer conversation like you were having a cup of coffee together and ask something like ‘this has been an adjustment for all of us. Could you share the result you want from the new policy?’

You could follow-up with ‘tell me more’ and ‘why’ that leads you to safely asking ‘are you setting an example of what you want’ to help you guide the conversation successfully.

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