Planning for Difficult Conversations

Live Webcast 
June 19, 2013
11 a.m. Pacific | 12:00 p.m. Mountain | 1:00 p.m. Central | 2:00 p.m. Eastern


90 minutes

Description: How do you know when it's time to have that difficult conversation you've been putting off? How do you start a conversation about something that's hard to talk about? How can you handle differing perceptions and strong emotions productively? Whether you're asking for a raise from your boss, negotiating boundaries with a peer, or giving feedback to a less experienced coworker, a few simple tools can make your conversation easier and more productive. (Note: While the approaches and tools covered may be useful for supervisors in a variety of contexts, the Webcast is not designed to focus specifically on addressing performance problems.)

Learning Outcomes:

  • Recognize the value of and barriers to engaging in difficult conversations
  • Assess personal/situational readiness to determine whether to hold a difficult conversation
  • Identify strategies for lowering defensiveness in yourself and others
  • Practice "scripting" as a conversational planning tool

Presenter: Melanie Hawks is the Learning and Development Manager at the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library. She has 20 years of experience as a trainer and facilitator. She leads workshops for higher education professionals throughout North America. Melanie has a master’s in professional communication from Westminster College and has authored the ACRL Active Guides on “Life/Work Balance” and “Influencing without Authority.”

Technical Requirements: ACRL Webcasts are held in an Elluminate virtual classroom. You will be prompted to download a java-based application (Elluminate) before being able to enter the classroom.  Elluminate works on both PC and Macintosh platforms.  The minimum PC requirements are a Pentium II 266 Mhz with 64MB of memory and a sound card. The minimum Mac requirements are a G3 233 Mhz with 64MB of memory when using OS 9.0 - 9.2 or 128MB of memory when using OS X.

Speakers or a headset for listening to the presentation are required. You may ask questions through text-based chat or a microphone. 

Tech Check: If you'd like to perform the Elluminate tech check on your computer, please go to:

Registration fees:
ACRL member: $50
ALA member: $75
Nonmember: $90
Student: $40
Group*: $295

* Webcasts take place in an interactive, online classroom environment with one user/one login. If you select the group rate, one person must register, login, and keyboard during the event. A group registration allows an institution to project the Webcast to participants in the same location

Class size is limited to 60 participants. You will receive your Webcast access information one business day before the live Webcast. Full refunds will be granted prior to the start of the Webcast. If you have a question about an e-Learning opportunity, please contact Margot Conahan (

Member rates apply to personal memberships only. Join ACRL today to take advantage of valuable members-only discounts, professional connections, and community. Complete the online membership form, available on the ALA Web site. If you join ALA/ACRL within five days of registering, we will adjust your fee.