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“Interactive and very worthwhile to attend, with real-life examples of how to defuse situations instead of escalating them. And the Guidebook is excellent. I feel more confident about how to prepare, what to say, words to use and the tools will help me both in my work life and private life,” Luke Ryan, Qld Health

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Topix - Performance Conversations Tips


“A quality, value-for-money day, well-prepared and presented, jam-packed with information, interaction and chances to reflect on practice. I liked that there were lots of opportunities to share experiences and look for solutions and we were provided with an abundance of resources to use before, during and after which are greatly appreciated It was a great day, Bill Alison Forster, St Mary’s Catholic College, Cairns


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FactFile-35: Performance Conversations

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Building Conversational Confidence



Positive Performance Conversations -- What this Program is About...


Tackling poor performance, as most leaders will tell you, is one of the most commonly avoided and widely feared species of difficult discussion. Organisations are packed with performance management guidelines and hand-books, yet there’s scant help on how to come to grips with the conversational side.

It’s not identifying performance issues that’s the obstacle. It’s raising defensiveness - giving difficult feedback to people where their reaction is emotionally volatile, and the conversational course you chart, unpredictable.

Defensiveness is an unnerving side-effect of difficult discussions. Conventional performance conversations centre on ‘constructive criticism’ but criticism is criticism. The person on the other end won’t see it as constructive no matter how much we tell them it is.

Positive performance conversations work on a simple principle: focus on future positive performance rather than past negatives. Focusing less on what's wrong and more on what’s expected creates a different emotional climate that enables you to give difficult feedback in constructive ways - and reduce their defensiveness so they hear what you have to say. [Read more in our FactFile on Performance Conversations]

Bypassing performance deficiencies and defensive reactions by describing the negative behaviour in positive terms, allows people to respond more positively and focus on the solution-finding and commitment conversation - the goal of giving critical feedback in the first place. Conversations with low performers will probably never be painless, but a few easy adjustments like this can make them less painful and more profitable to all parties.

An extension to our Dealing with Difficult Discussions clinic, this practical master class (offered in 1 and 2-day formats) steps you through some essential footings, frameworks and formulas that will help you:


Build confidence and competence in dealing with low performers


Feel more comfortable about delivering difficult feedback


Handle confrontations with poor performers more constructively


Say what you need to say in ways that will be heard and get positive action


Gain new skills and tools to manage all performance discussions better

Performance Conversations Seminar


Half-Day or Full-Day

Scheduled Dates

In-House on Request


Is this clinic right for you?

Leaders at any level who want to improve their capacity for and competence in handling performance conversations – especially with poor or difficult performers. It’s particularly relevant for those who get anxious, irritated or defensive confronting poor performers or those who want to take a more constructive, solutions-focused approach. While the focus is mainly on difficult performers, many principles and tools in Positive Performance Conversations can also be used to coach, support and encourage good performers too.

What we'll cover:

We'll review some common errors to avoid in performance conversations. Learn ways to anticipate objections, handle defensiveness and put negative performance issues across positively -- so you can turn tough performance appraisals into constructive resolution and improvement sessions.  We'll also discuss and practise tools to help:


Follow SPECIFIC steps to make tough performance conversations easier


Use non-judgmental, neutral language without diluting difficult messages


Deliver difficult feedback that is more ‘sayable’ and ‘hearable’


Construct performance conversations in more positive ways


Turn performance conversations into mutual problem-solving sessions


8 Download the program Brochure here PDF or review the course outline 

8 See our current Schedule of Public Programs for dates and locations of upcoming clinics near you. Scheduled Dates

8 Register On-Line   or Enquire about an In-House clinic for your team 

8  Preview Topics & Tips on Performance Conversations or Download FactFile 35 or CC E-News Issue #13


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