Course 1: Navigating Difficult Conversations with Empathy and Ease

Welcome & Poster Session, Good Scientific Practice & Research Integrity01.07.2024 10:00 - 18:00 (Mo)TUM Graduate School
Course 1: Navigating Difficult Conversations with Empathy and Ease02.07.2024 09:00 - 17:00 (Di)Birgit Koch
Course 1: Navigating Difficult Conversations with Empathy and Ease03.07.2024 09:00 - 16:00 (Mi)Birgit Koch
Perception, Unconscious Bias, Empathy, Emotional Intelligence, Triggers and Emotional Regulation, Constructive Communication, Preparation for difficult conversations
Beschreibung Kursinhalt: 

There are situations in life when we are confronted with the need to lead difficult conversations, whether with our supervisors, colleagues in the office or lab, or even in our personal relationships. Many individuals find it daunting to engage in such conversations, often postponing them or entering them while emotionally strained. This training program wants to demystify difficult conversations and focuses on developing essential communication skills tailored to the professional context, while acknowledging their broader applicability across various facets of life.

The course focuses on the foundational aspects of approaching tough conversations including communication strategies, emotional intelligence towards others and how to be aware of your Unconscious Biases. This knowledge enables you to participate in difficult conversations with more empathy and ease. We will delve into triggers and emotional self-regulation as well as 4 steps to prepare and practice for a difficult conversation. In addition to these essential skills, we'll cover other factors that influence difficult conversations, such as setting the right atmosphere, timing, and body language. Through engaging discussions, hands-on exercises, and reflective sessions, you'll have the opportunity to apply what you learn in a supportive environment. This culminates in a simulation of your own cases of difficult conversations in a small group setting. By gaining a deeper understanding of our own communication patterns and emotional triggers, applying appropriate tools, and fostering empathy, we can navigate difficult conversations with more purpose and satisfaction.


We will work a lot with the knowledge in the room and contextualize it with science, to tailor tools and approaches perfectly to individual needs and experiences. Please note, this course does not focus on negotiation techniques nor does it include the Harvard model (for this see our other course: “Negotiation” with the Harvard-Model).

  • Particpants will…

    • share their experiences of difficult conversations and encounter different perspectives,
    • reflect and learn when, where and how to start a difficult conversation,
    • reflect on communication patterns and learn communication tools,
    • strengthen their emotional intelligence and empathy,
    • understand how unconscious bias can influence difficult conversations,
    • learn tools to mitigate bias and strengthen their empathy for their counterparts,
    • reflect on their emotional triggers in communication and become stronger in dealing with them,
    • learn how to prepare for and follow up on a difficult conversation,
    • receive constructive feedback on their difficult conversation in the simulation.

Short inputs, group work, self-reflection tasks, discussions, role play, watching videos, working on case studies.

Sonstige Informationen: 

This course is not designed for the medical field regarding difficult conversations with patients.

Graduate School Geschäftsstelle
Verantwortung für Veranstaltung: 
In Präsenz
Maximale Teilnehmer*innenzahl: 
Umfang in Stunden: 
Michelle Eberhard

My name is Michelle Eberhard, I am an intercultural trainer, organizational anthropologist, and social entrepreneur and managing partner of Working Between Cultures. As a trainer, I have several years of experience in online and face-to-face trainings and work on the topics of culture(s), intercultural communication & sensitization, communication and conflicts, change of perspective, feedback culture, diversity and cooperation in diverse teams. Furthermore, I accompany organizational development processes of companies and institutions, with a focus on corporate culture (e.g. development of a welcoming culture, intercultural onboarding). Through my studies in social and cultural anthropology I internalized that the way people think and act is significantly influenced by their socialization and cultural imprint and that everything people do makes sense to them in their specific context, even if it might seem irritating to one personally. Meeting human behavior with open curiosity and looking at the surrounding factors/influences is one of my core values and manifests itself as an understanding, non-judgmental approach in my way of dealing with individuals and groups in both private and professional contexts. The training is designed according to the anti-bias approach and structured in a participatory, participant- and transfer-oriented way.