The Upside

This One Approach Will Help You in Any Difficult Client Conversation

I married a fantastic communicator. And thank goodness for that because boy did I need help in that department. Big time. 

Mr. Upside (as we all like to call him) says:

Conflict creates intimacy.

What he means by this is that there are no meaningful relationships–even professional ones–without some kind of conflict. And when we address conflict in a human way, the result is closer, better, more fruitful relationships.

He says that when conflict arises, it’s best to communicate from the heart. Yes, even in professional situations. 

Speaking from the heart tells our colleagues and clients that we respect them as people and that we see and hear them. It also signals that we would like the same from them. 

Speaking from the heart tears down the barriers that feel transactional and builds stronger relationships that can become impenetrable. 

Need to raise your prices? Speak from the heart.

Not getting what you need from your client? Speak from the heart.

Feeling a sense that something’s wrong? Speak from the heart.

Start by saying to your client: 

“I respect and treasure our relationships so much. Can I speak from the heart for a moment?”

Tell them how the situation is making you feel. Tell them why you’re concerned. Ask them for their advice. Tell them you’re on their side.

This will immediately bring everyone’s walls down, affording you the mental space to express what you’re thinking and feeling, and in a way that feels good to everyone.

In a world full of emails that start off, “per our previous conversation” …

…be the “can I speak from the heart?” person. 

I promise that this will feel more authentic and will help you build more meaningful, long-term professional relationships whenever and wherever conflict arises.

Erin Halper

About the Author

Erin Halper is the founder and CEO of The Upside and the leading authority on independent consulting. Since launching The Upside in 2017, Erin has helped thousands of professionals transition from corporate life into consulting to achieve flexibility, autonomy, and a renewed sense of purpose in their careers.

Erin has been a frequent speaker at Columbia, NYU, Harvard, and Brown and has been featured as a leading future of work expert on dozens of podcasts as well as in Forbes, Business Insider, Nasdaq, Crunchbase and many more.

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