Soft Startups: Initiating Difficult Conversation


Ed Batista, a leadership coach at Stanford, has a good tip today on “soft startups.” When I first read that, I thought it was referring to websites that go broke really fast or something. However, a “soft startup” refers to initiating a difficult conversation.

Sometimes when talking about something difficult I just blurt it out. Believe it or not, I’ve had good results with that. I use it because I find it easier than being delicate. These tips, however, seem like a good resource and definitely would be worth trying out.

How to Initiate a Soft Startup

  1. Start with something positive. (C’mon, you must be able to think of something.)
  2. Use “I” statements to express your perspective and your feelings. (Don’t assume that what you perceive is the only possible truth.)
  3. Don’t make assumptions about the other party’s perspective. (They may not even be aware that there’s a problem, or it may not be their fault–and they may be happy to help solve it if they’re approached in the right way.)
  4. State your request clearly, firmly and politely. (And acknowledge any concessions that are granted.)

The Value of Soft Startups – [Ed Batista]

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