How to Handle Difficult Conversations in Your Contracting Business

Sometimes, in-person communication can seem like the most difficult form. This is because you have to know what to say on the fly, and you can’t delete it and say it a different way. The good news is that you can learn how to manage difficult conversations for your contracting business. Here’s what you need to do.

Write Simple Scripts
When you want to learn the best ways to deal with conflict in a conversation, you may want to start by thinking of people who have to deal with conflict all day long. For example, imagine the last time you had a conflict with someone who works at the DMV or the company that provides your Internet access. In most cases, these employees have simple scripts that they have been taught to follow. These scripts help them to avoid saying more than they should, or offering more compromises than they can. Although you don’t want a general conversation to sound completely scripted, you can come up with a few sentences that help you to clarify your meaning and avoid causing further conflict.

Practice Dealing With Conflicts
If you don’t feel like you have a lot of experience dealing with conflict in a conversation, you may want to practice with a friend or relative. Make sure that the person you’re practicing with knows you well enough to avoid turning it into a personal disagreement, but can also help you stick to the exercise. Try it out with a few different people, since you’ll have clients with different communication styles that you may have to deal with. Make notes about what works and what doesn’t, and keep practicing until negotiating with someone feels more natural.

Record Your Voice
Have you ever had a moment where someone told you to speak louder or talk more softly when you thought that you were maintaining a reasonable volume? It’s a matter of perception. Sometimes it’s difficult for you to tell how you come off to others. While recording devices may not capture tone and volume perfectly, they can give you an indication of your tone and volume in relation to someone else’s. Position your phone or another recording device at a central place in the room. Record your conversation, perhaps a test conversation that you’re having with a friend. Afterward, listen to it and see if you can identify changes in tone or mood based on what you hear. You may be able to spot a few problems that you can fix this way.

Ask for Feedback
One of the hardest parts of handling conflict with people is to ask for feedback. While you may not want to ask a disgruntled client for feedback about a conversation, you can certainly do this with friends and relatives. If you’re worried that you will take criticism personally, ask them to start by identifying things that they think you do well. That will make it easier to digest anything they have to say that identifies things you may need to change. It’s a smart idea to get lots of practice giving and receiving feedback. You’ll have a lot of opportunities to do this during the running of your business, so you might as well get used to it.

Lead With Compassion
Ultimately, the way that you see the conflict or problem is going to shape the way you carry out a difficult conversation. For example, if you perceive that the client or employee that you have to talk to is intentionally making things harder for you, you may have less patience or willingness to work with them. On the other hand, if you think about where they are coming from and why they may have the views they have, you may be in a better position to come up with a compromise that will work for both of you.

Having a difficult conversation lead to a successful conclusion is an important skill to learn as a contracting business owner. For more information about running your own contracting business, contact CSLS today!

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About CSLS

Contractors State License Service (CSLS) is the largest school in California devoted to the Construction professional. For over 23 years, CSLS has helped its students pass the exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California, licensing more students than any other school. From our main offices in Southern California, CSLS operates over 25 locations with full-service support and classrooms. We have grown to this extent by providing quality, professional services. In comparison, this provides 7 times the number of convenient locations than the second largest contractor school. Contractors State License Services is one of the only contractor schools in the state that is run by educators, not lawyers or people mostly interested in the bonding and insurance business. Contractors State License Services formerly operated under the oversight of the State of California's Bureau for Private Post Secondary and Vocational Education. As of January 1 2010, the new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) came into existence replacing the BPPVE. CSLS now operates under the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (CPPEA), Article 4 Section 94874(f). Our Mission is simple; We can help you pass your California Contractors License Exam. Celebrating our 25th year, CSLS has helped over 120,000 students pass the California contractor licensing exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California. Additionally, we offer complete home study and online contractor’s license programs to help you pass your California contractors license exam. CSLS offers licensing classes for all types of contractor licenses, including General Engineering Contractor, General Building Contractor, Specialty Contractor, Insulation and Acoustical Contractor, Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor, Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor, Concrete Contractor, Drywall Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Elevator Contractor, Landscaping Contractor, Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor, and many others. For a complete list of contractor licenses, visit and tuned for more informative posts.