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Microsoft exec: My 2-step rule for having hard conversations at work

By | Morgan Smith |

All of us have had to — or will — deal with a frustrating work situation at some point in our careers, whether it’s a loud deskmate, an unproductive meeting or a project that went off the rails. 

As tempting as it is to storm into your boss’s office or fire off a passive aggressive email to an insufferable coworker, rash, emotional responses don’t solve problems. 

There’s a better approach to handling difficult conversations at work, Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer, argues — and it starts with clear, confident communication. 

“Communication can be an especially difficult skill that takes a long time to hone, but it’s one of the most important skills you need to succeed in the workplace,” Capossela, 53, tells CNBC Make It, adding that when it comes to stressful topics, “communication can often go badly.”

Capossela has spent his 31-year career at Microsoft mastering the art of communication, even serving as a speechwriter for then-CEO Bill Gates between 1997 and 1999. 

Here, he shares his best advice for navigating a difficult work conversation: 

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