When’s the best time to broach a potentially difficult conversation?

As far in advance as possible–preferably days ahead of time, if not weeks, months or years. It’s proactive, pre-emptive and relationship-preserving.

Every time I go through my bank’s drive-thru a proactive, pre-emptive, relationship-preserving message greets me. In essence, it plants the seed that they may not recognize me at some point and may need to ask for my identification–and for my protection.

Have they ever had to do so? No, not yet. But if and when that time comes, I will have been well prepared so as not to take offense.

With public relations clients that I have, in and around Chicago, I have taken the same approach for more than five years. It comes in the form of my Inside Edge Partnership Pledge.

It’s about setting the proper, professional tone–and setting the stage for confrontational dialogue that may never even be necessary. But if it is, then you will already be getting off on the right foot.




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