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YWLC x Facebook: Navigating Hard Conversations

Being able to communicate effectively is essential to one’s career and personal growth, especially when under pressure and in difficult situations.

In the third and final workshop held in partnership with Meta (formerly Facebook) on 'Navigating Hard Conversations,' our speaker Shefali Srinivas, who leads monetization communications for Meta in the Asia Pacific region, shared various tools and techniques to give and receive feedback effectively.

1) Pay attention to your non-verbal cues. Body Language – Do’s and Don'ts Do’s

  • Stand/sit straight and breathe normally. Find your comfort zone posture and don’t be afraid to own your space. Ensure that there is good lighting and sound (virtual events/calls) and place yourself in the centre of the frame. Don'ts

  • Cross arms across your chest, keep touching your face or hair, sway or rock on the heels of your feet, slouch or slump, or swivel around in your office chair. Voice Modulation

  • The volume and variation sets the tone and mood. Make sure that there is clarity in your enunciation and emphasis.

2) Tailor your communication style based on the principles of the communication. People receive information in different ways, and it is important to take the principles of communication, set out below, into account to ensure that you not only convey, but the recipient receives and accepts the feedback, effectively.

Principles of Communication

  • Who: Define your communication

  • What: What do you want to tell them?

  • Why: What are the goals of this communication?

  • Where: What is the channel you will deliver it on?

  • When: What is the time you’ll deliver it?

  • How: What is the best format to connect with your audience?

  • It is important to be open and thoughtful

  • Remember that it is important to seek feedback and be open to changing your communication style

3) Learn how to give (and receive) effective feedback.

Giving Effective Feedback

  • Effective feedback is clear, actionable and focused on growth

  • All feedback is heard and received in the context of the relationship

  • Set aside a specific time and state upfront you are giving feedback. “Can we take 10 minutes of our 1:1 to discuss some feedback I want to share?”

  • Say the tl;dr. “When we are together in meetings I feel you are not listening because you interrupt me to get your point across.”

  • Give a concrete example - “For example, during the meeting on Wednesday, I was talking about XYZ. You interrupted me and diverted the conversation twice to discuss trust and safety.” - Be specific about positive performance beyond saying good job

  • Explain the impact. “It made me feel unheard, and I’m reluctant to speak up when you are in the room.

  • Having the confidence to seek the feedback and then follow through

  • Concrete example

  • Why should the person care and do differently

Receiving Feedback

  • See it as an opportunity to learn where you are and where you need to be

  • Keep an open mind, stay calm

  • Don’t assume you can’t get better

  • Don’t get defensive

  • Tell yourself the most helpful, encouraging thing instead of saying negative things to yourself - For example, “I’m learning new things and will get better at it” instead of “I’m just not good at this”

Giving Feedback in the Virtual World

  • Call out good work immediately. Make the person feel safe so that their efforts get recognised

  • Make it specific

  • For negative aspects, call them out early - don’t drag it out

  • Focus on facts without assuming intent

  • Remind the person of what they do well

4) Approach difficult conversations by using the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Framework.

Developed by clinical psychologist Dr Marshall Rosenberg, the NVC Framework is an approach to communication that focuses on empathetic listening and honest expression. It comprises 4 components:

  1. Observe i.e. What I observe (see, hear, remember) that does or does not contribute to my well-being

  2. Feelings i.e. How I feel in relation to what I observe

  3. Needs i.e. What I need or value that causes my feelings

  4. Requests i.e. The concrete action(s) that you would like taken

By using the NVC Framework to communicate or even deliver feedback, the message that you wish to convey is delivered in such a way that it focuses on what we observe, how we feel, what we need (or our requests), ultimately leading to a reasonable discussion of the desired change or outcome following the conversation. For more on the NVC Framework, you may also wish to refer to this book.

5) The ABC’s of receiving feedback.

  • A - Acknowledge: While it is important to acknowledge your mistake or any issue/area that you might have overlooked, it is just as critical to point out if the other party is being especially tough on you or insensitive.

  • B - Bridge: Have 3 clear points or takeaways for the other party. These can be framed as follows - 1) Here is what I know; 2) This is what I don’t know; 3) This is what I am willing to learn.

  • C - Conclude: Finally, be sure to reach and establish common ground that both parties are comfortable with.

Use Bridging Techniques

Bridging techniques are useful when you are looking to seamlessly transition from responding to a question to conveying a message.

Examples of bridging phrases include:

  • “Yes...and …”

  • “In addition to …”

  • “What we know for sure is …”

  • “What I’m here to talk about today...”

  • “Let me tell you what we have observed”

6) Finally, celebrate the good!

Giving feedback does not always have to be a tough conversation! While you should always strive to give clear and constructive feedback to help your peers and colleagues improve, it is also equally important to be generous with giving positive feedback as well. Remember to celebrate the good!


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Organising Committee: Leadership Development Organising Team: Nisha Rajoo, Chandini Manoharan Partner: Meta Speaker: Shefali Srinivas Artwork: Teresa Widodo

Author: Lim Mei Yu, Li Xinyi Editor: Joey Ong


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