Tension to Connection: How to Defuse Challenging Conversations 

Complete WIRE’s latest training specifically developed for young workers, funded by Australian Unity.  This is a self-paced free training that you can complete when and where is convenient for you!  


Who is this training for?  

Are you someone who: 

  • is 25 or under? 
  • is currently employed or are seeking employment? 
  • wants to improve your communication skills?
  • talks to customers (or will be talking to customers) as part of your job? 
  • experiences challenging conversations with customers?  
  • feels the impact of interacting with angry or distressed customers? 

If you said yes to any of the above questions, then you are likely to benefit from completing this training. 


How to complete this training? 

All the training materials are on this page. You can watch the videos and download the handouts from the links below. Simply click on the links listed for each chapter. 


About this Training  

“Tension to Connection: How to Defuse Challenging Conversations” is WIRE’s new professional training for young people who are about to enter the workforce or are already working.  

It covers foundational knowledge and practical skills for people who are in customers-facing roles (for example call centre, retail, etc.) and have to engage in difficult conversations.  

There are 6 chapters in this training: 

  • Chapter 1: Introduction 
  • Chapter 2: Understanding and Recognising Difficult Conversations  
  • Chapter 3: How to Defuse Challenging Conversations 
  • Chapter 4: Role-plays 
  • Chapter 5: Collective and Self-care 
  • Chapter 6: Summary and Further Resources 

The videos are about 5 to 15 minutes long, about 45 in total. They are designed in a way that you can watch it as a video, have the audio off and just read the text off the screen, or just listen to the audio. There is also accompanying handouts with each chapter (except chapter 1) to help with further learning.  


Training Videos and Downloadable Documents 

Chapter 1 – Introduction 

In this chapter, we will introduce the training and talk about what we will cover throughout the training. We will also talk about WIRE and why we deliver this training. There is some other information covered here that will help you with getting the most out of this training.  

You can watch Chapter 1 video here:  

Chapter 2 – Understanding and Recognising Challenging Conversations 

In this chapter, we will discuss understanding and recognising challenging conversations. We will aim to answer the following questions: 

  • What makes a conversation challenging? 
  • How can you tell when you are experiencing a challenging conversation? 
  • What are some of the things you need to keep in mind when you are experiencing a challenging conversation? 

You can watch Chapter 2 video here:  

You can download the accompanying handout here  


Chapter 3 – How to defuse challenging conversations? 

In this video, we will discuss skills you can use when you are experiencing challenging conversations to defuse the situation and reach an outcome that is helpful both for you and the other person.  

You can watch Chapter 3 video here:  

You can download the accompanying handout here 


Chapter 4 – Role-plays 

In this chapter, we will show you examples of how using techniques discussed in chapter 3 can help with defusing challenging conversations.  

We will cover two scenarios: first scenario is set in a retail store, and the second scenario is set in a call centre.  

For each scenario, we have two examples. First example displays behaviours that can lead to an escalation and the second example displays skills that can help defuse or de-escalate a challenging conversation. 

You can watch Chapter 4 video here

You can download the accompanying handout here 


Chapter 5 – Collective and Self-Care 

In this chapter, we talk about the concept of collective and self-care. Challenging conversations can require a lot of energy and effort. When we have challenging conversations as part of our job, we need to think about what will help us make the work more sustainable? Collective and self-care encourages us to think about what we need in order to feel understood and cared for.  

You can watch Chapter 5 video here:  

You can download the accompanying handout here 


Chapter 6 – Summary and Resources 

In the last chapter, we review what we have discussed this training and present some further resources to support you.   

You can watch Chapter 6 video here:  

You can download the accompanying handout here  


After Completing This Training 

After completing all chapters, if you have any questions, please contact us via info@wire.org.au, mentioning you have a question about this training and we will get back to you as soon as we can.  

If you have any feedback, please send your comments to consultancyservices@wire.org.au 

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