No food truck business is immune to workplace tensions: It is inevitable that you will have some difficult conversations with colleagues, staff or customers. Difficult conversations; whether you’re telling a customer why their order is wrong or having to hold a performance review of one of your poorly performing employees are all part of running a food truck business.

Here are three ways to reach a productive outcome, no matter how tough the conversation is.

3 Ways To Survive Those Difficult Conversations

  • Keep it civil. Don’t turn the conversation into a combat with a winner and a loser. Everyone looks bad when the discussion turns toxic.
  • Don’t rehearse. When you know things are going to be tough, it’s tempting to practice what you’re going to say ahead of time. But this is a conversation — not a performance. Instead, know where you stand but be open enough to listen and react.
  • Resist making assumptions. You don’t have access to anyone’s intentions but your own. Don’t assume that you know where your counterpart is coming from or how she views the problem. Instead, ask for her perspective.

It is at these times when communication is most vital to achieving your goals that it breaks down most dramatically. Difficult conversations are scary because in most cases the stakes are high and there is a real cost of failure.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The art of conversation is like any other. With continued practice you will acquire skill and ease.

Here are some additional tips and suggestions:

  • A successful outcome will depend on two things. How you are feeling and what you say. How you are feeling will greatly influence what you say.
  • Acknowledge emotional energy (yours and your staff member’s) and direct it toward a useful purpose.
  • Know and return to your purpose at difficult moments.
  • Don’t take verbal attacks personally.
  • Don’t assume your staff member can see things from your point of view.
  • Practice the conversation with a friend or family member before holding the real one.
  • Mentally practice the conversation and envision the outcome you are hoping for.

Handling difficult conversations requires skill and empathy, but ultimately, it requires the courage to go ahead and do it. The more you get into the habit of facing difficult conversations squarely, the more adept you will become at it.

RELATED: Get Your Food Truck Business Unstuck In 4 Simple Steps

The Bottom Line

Think of a conversation you’ve been putting off. Got it? There are dozens of books on the topic of difficult conversations. Those times when you know you should talk to someone, but you don’t. Maybe you’ve tried and it went badly. Or maybe you fear that talking will only make the situation worse. Still, you feel stuck, and you’d like to free up that stuck energy for more useful purposes. Use this article to make through these discussions and proceed with creating a fantastic food truck business.

How do you get past difficult conversations in your food truck? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section or on social media. Facebook | Twitter