There are a variety of reasons you might have an uncomfortable conversation with your supervisor or boss. You may make a mistake on an important project, receive some negative feedback, want to ask for a raise, put in your notice, or complain about a company policy or decision. While these scenarios are totally different, you can tackle these conversations with the following tips.

  1. Be Prepared

Before initiating a difficult conversation with your supervisor, know what you want to say and why. Ask yourself what you hope to get out of the conversation. Setting specific goals will help you understand exactly what it is you want to say and keep you from going off topic. This will also keep you from saying anything impulsive that might negatively impact your end goal.

Write out your argument, including everything you want to say in the moment, and then distill this to the key points you want to make. You don’t need to memorize the words, but having your key points memorized will help you stay on track. You can also try talking it out with a family member or non work-related friend. They might also be able to help you identify your goal and key points. Then, practice, practice practice!

  1. Gather Your Evidence

As Caris Thetfor writing for The Muse points out, you need to have evidence regarding your key points. This is especially true if you are addressing specific feedback from your supervisor you disagree with, a discrepancy you found, or interpersonal office issues.

  1. Attitude can change outcomes.

Try to avoid going into a conversation with a negative outlook. Look at the situation from a neutral or ultimately productive stand point. As Rebecca Knight, writing for the Harvard Business Review says, “For instance, you’re not giving negative performance feedback…You’re not telling your boss: no; you’re offering up an alternate solution.”

Moreover, approaching conversations with an open mind will help you take a more empathetic view of your colleague’s perspective.

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