Leading Difficult Conversations Series #3: Creating a Safe Conversation Environment
Hand with Red Pen Proofreading Text Closeup (iStock/Thinkstock)
view on EDIS

How to Cite

Chiarelli, Christy. 2021. “Leading Difficult Conversations Series #3: Creating a Safe Conversation Environment”. EDIS 2021 (2). https://doi.org/10.32473/edis-wc384-2021.


This publication series is intended for leaders who bear the responsibility of having difficult conversations as part of their professional responsibilities. Earlier in this publication series, the foundational principles of preparing for difficult conversations were established: (1) defining the issue and (2) determining your motive for the conversation. Once those principles are put into practice, the next phase of having a difficult conversation is creating a safe environment for the conversation. Components of creating a safe environment include recognizing a conversation’s content and conditions, understanding the threats to a safe environment, and utilizing skills to overcome threats to restore safety. This new 3-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural Education and Communication was written by Christy Chiarelli.

view on EDIS


Farrell, M. (Column Editor). (2015). Difficult conversations. Journal of Library Administration, 55(4), 302–311. https://doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2015.1038931

Lasley, M. (2005). Difficult conversations: Authentic communication leads to greater understanding and teamwork. Group Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal, 7.

Overton, A. R., & Lowry, A. C. (2013). Conflict management: Difficult conversations with difficult people. Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery, 26(4), 259–264. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0033-1356728

Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2012). Crucial conversations: Tools for talking when the stakes are high. McGraw-Hill.

Reynolds, M. (2014). The discomfort zone: How leaders turn difficult conversations into breakthroughs. San Francisco: Barrett-Koehler Publishers.

Stone, D., Patton, B., & Heen, S. (1999). Difficult conversa­tions: How to discuss what matters most. New York, NY: Penguin.

Copyright (c) 2021 UF/IFAS