Winning Conversations with ‘POISE NOW’: Step 4 - Share

Posted in : HR Updates ROI on 6 July 2016
Mary Rafferty
Consensus Mediation
Issues covered:

Step Four: Share

Now it’s your turn. You’ve given them the headlines about your concerns.

They’ve had some space and time to say where they’re coming from.

So now they need to hear your side. But where will you start?

  • Do you give them a seven-word summary: ‘you’re not doing your job’?
  • Do you lay out a detailed list of their shortcomings?
  • Do you deliver it as an unappetizing praise-sandwich? 

While it’s just a story, it shows the power of our imagination for negative and inaccurate conclusions about a situation.

Observations or Conclusions?

Imagine you saw John wagging his finger and shouting, while looking at you in a team meeting last week. You decide to call him aside and say

‘Your behaviour was inappropriate at the meeting last week’

But notice: you haven’t told him what you saw.  You’ve told him a conclusion you reached about what you saw.

It’s a common error. 

We confuse what happened—the facts of the matter—with our own perceptions, interpretations, feelings and beliefs.

You are more likely to do this if you are annoyed or frustrated. These emotions cloud your logical thinking.

John wagging his finger and speaking in a louder tone, was the data you observed. Your mind then created a story around this. Something like:

‘John is being argumentative again. He likes to be right and to do this in public. He’s trying to undermine me. I’m really irritated. He can’t be allowed to continue doing this unchecked or soon everyone will be doing it. I’ll have to tell him his behaviour is inappropriate’

You may be accurate about John’s motivations.

You may even be realistic in your fears about the influence of his behaviour on the rest of the team. But starting with the end conclusion rather than simply referring to what saw, is not likely to be helpful.

Conclusions tend to sound opinionated and judgmental. They are more likely to put someone on the defensive rather than inviting a discussion.

Differentiate between the objective facts and the meaning and interpretation that you add to what you heard or saw.  

Start with observable specific facts—what you saw, heard. If you are acting on concerns expressed by someone else, make sure you have specific concrete details not vague opinions such as ‘he’s very unreliable’

When you’ve given them the factual version, you can then share the interpretations and conclusions you came to. Keep your tone tentative and questioning with these e.g.

‘When I heard you raise your voice, the assumption I made was that you were angry and wanted to challenge me in the meeting. Have I picked that up right or am I missing something here’

Consider sharing the impact of the behaviour on you and the reasons for this. For example

 ‘I felt frustrated because I needed the project finished on time’

Present your thoughts as ‘from my point of view’, or ‘my perspective’ rather than incontrovertible facts and conclusions. Leave room for them to disagree with you ‘This is how I see it but I may be wrong – do you see it differently?’

„ Reiterate your positive intentions (from the Opening stage) to find a way forward and get the situation resolved.

„ Use a non-judgmental calm, professional tone with open body language and eye contact.

„ Ensure you finish with an invitation for them to share their response to what you have said.

 If you think they are likely to misinterpret the key message then ask them to paraphrase back to you ‘Just so as I can check you’ve understood me, can you play back to me what you’ve just heard me say’


  • „Write some notes about the key messages you want to communicate to the other person on the blank template.
  • „Use the guidelines above to help you phrase and frame what you want to get across. 
This article is correct at 06/07/2016

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Mary Rafferty
Consensus Mediation

The main content of this article was provided by Mary Rafferty. Contact telephone number is +00 (353) 71 9651966 or +00 (353) 86 8252423 or email

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