Online Workshop

Resolving Difficult Conversations (Advanced)

About this Online Workshop

This workshop is the advanced version of OMSSA's popular foundational workshop, Making Difficult Conversations Easier. To get the most out of this workshop, it is recommended that learners first complete the foundational workshop.

During the foundational workshop, we examined what makes conversations difficult, why they occur and how to manage them. We outlined and practiced the key skills of de-escalating angry emotions, empathetic listening and asking good questions to unpack and focus on interests instead of positions. In addition, we explored the proper sequencing of the conversation along with how best to be both empathetic and assertive.

Now, in this advanced workshop, we will pick up where we left off and discover:

  • how best to prepare for a difficult conversation,
  • additional conversation tools that can be used to move the conversation to positive results
  • a multi-faceted questioning technique that zeroes in on the core areas where the causes of the conflict and impasse lie

Participants will also walk along the Resolution Pathway, a robust and comprehensive step-based process that ties everything together from start to finish and, if followed, is guaranteed to lead to a positive conclusion and relationship.

NOTE: This is an interactive, virtual training session, which is different from a webinar. Participants will be expected to participate through voice and video, and to engage with each other and the facilitator in large and small group discussions, to learn from each other and practice skill development.

Learning Objectives

  • Properly prepare for a difficult conversation
  • Develop greater questioning skills by examining the root causes of behavior (including broken promises) using a model that contains six sources of influence
  • Learn more advanced, effective and practical communication tools, including:
    • Managing the angry person
    • Delivering bad news
    • Making it safe to talk
    • Understanding unconscious bias
    • Tone, volume and cadence
    • Unpacking the importance of the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA)
    • Summarizing and Paraphrasing
    • Futurizing
    • Reframing
    • Reality testing
  • Learn a comprehensive step-based process known as the Resolution Pathway that ties everything together from the foundational and advanced workshops
  • Practice skills using real-world case scenarios

Who Should Attend?

Format and Duration

Three, two-hour sessions over the course of one week

Session Dates and Registration

October 26-28, 2022

  • Part 1: Tuesday, October 26 | 10:00-12:00
  • Part 2: Wednesday, October 27 | 10:00-12:00
  • Part 3: Thursday, October 28 | 10:00-12:00
  • Registration cut off: October 24

Register Now


  • Members: $180 + HST

  • Non-Members: $230 + HST

Technical Requirements

OMSSA will be hosting this virtual training using Zoom, an online, interactive training platform that you can join straight from your web browser, or by downloading 'Zoom Client for Meetings' on your computer or tablet

Participants will be expected to join the session via both video and audio. Participants should therefore have access to a desktop computer, laptop computer or tablet with:

  • a webcam or built-in camera

  • a built-in microphone or a headphone jack where you can plug in a headset or earphones

We strongly recommend that participants use a headset or earphones with a built-in microphone in order to limit background noise. 

System requirements: Click here for more detailed information on system requirements from Zoom.

About the Facilitator

Sharad Kerur has a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) and Master of Industrial Relations from Queen's University, with a focus on negotiation theory and alternative dispute resolution methods.   

For over 30 years, Sharad held senior level positions in the union and association sectors. His most recent position was Executive Director of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA), Canada's largest non-profit housing association. As a result, he has a strong grasp on the business of non-profit organizations and associations, and real-world experience in negotiation and mediation.

Sharad is Harvard-trained, having obtained a Certificate in Mediating Disputes and a Certificate in Negotiating Difficult Conversations from the Harvard Negotiation Institute (Harvard Law School) and also holds a Certificate in Dispute Resolution and an Advanced Certificate in Dispute Resolution, both from the York University in Toronto.

Sharad has a Q.Med (Qualified Mediator) designation from the ADR Institute of Canada and is also a Certified Workplace Fairness Analyst accredited by the Workplace Fairness Institute of Canada. He has also obtained a Certificate in Civil Procedures for Non-Lawyer Mediators from the ADR Institute of Ontario.

He is currently on the Community Mediation Roster and Associate Mediation Roster with St. Stephen's Community House (Conflict & Training), where he also serves as an instructor in their mediation and conflict resolution training programs. He has been a guest lecturer for Humber College's Alternative Dispute Resolution program and he serves as a Dispute Resolution Educator, coach and instructor for York University's continuing education program in dispute resolution.

More recently, Sharad developed and now leads his own consultancy firm known as Resolution Pathways, which assists people and organizations to resolve conflicts.    

With his knowledge, expertise, and experience, Sharad currently provides:

  • "understanding-based" mediation services
  • training in mediation and negotiation skills
  • training in de-escalation and conflict resolution skills
  • training in managing difficult conversations
  • assisting in the development of high-performing teams
  • assessing workplace conflict management systems and implementing workplace fairness restoration measures

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