Managing Difficult and Heated Conversations (DR148)

Students and Classmates at a whiteboard

Workplace conversations on difficult topics can easily become unproductive. This workshop teaches strategies for planning and having challenging conversations. Classroom simulations and role-plays address techniques for de-escalation and managing emotional exchanges


  • Build your skills to productively approach conflict
  • Learn how to prepare and practice having difficult conversations
  • Define next steps and follow-up needed after challenging conversations

Approach and Features

Managing Difficult and Heated Conversations  is a highly interactive, practice-based workshop. Participants will apply techniques through role playing and other live simulations. Techniques include creating personal emotional boundaries while supporting constructive conversation. 

Key Topics

  • Strategies for designing and faciliating conversations that maintain civility and foster positive outcomes
  • Intervention techniques for negative or destructive conversations
  • Tools to prevent conversation escalation and to shift the conversation dynamic


Katrina Nobles

Extension Associate

Katrina Nobles is the Education and Communications Manager for the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at the Cornell University ILR School, focusing on educating the next generation of neutrals and practitioners on campus and in the workplace. Nobles designs curriculum, instructs professional programs, and facilitates discussions for organizational workplace conflicts. She also works with faculty and extension associates to coordinate programs, contracts, and grants. She has practiced mediation for several years, and prior to her employment at Cornell, Katrina was the Cortland County Coordinator for New Justice Mediation Services. During that time, Nobles mediated hundreds of community, child custody/visitation, child support, and family disputes. Katrina holds a Master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Engagement from Antioch University Midwest.


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