IPAA Victoria

Course and Event Calendar

Professional Development

IPAA Victoria runs a variety of professional development courses and special events that provide opportunities to learn, be inspired and network with your peers across the wider public sector.

Course and Event Calendar

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Making Difficult Conversations Work

  • VHA Meeting room Level 6, 136 Exhibition Street Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia (map)

Tough conversations can make or break a working relationship. But often all it takes is a little prudence and preparation to turn a problematic conversation into a productive and mutually beneficial one.

Often our biggest work challenges come down to those hard conversations that we avoid, or – even worse – handle poorly and regret later on. Now, thanks to IPAA Victoria and the behavioural insights team at Method9, there is a training course that can help us negotiate the most common pitfalls of conversations in public sector workplaces – and work more collaboratively with our colleagues and partners to address key issues around performance improvement and behaviour.

What will you learn?

Making difficult conversations work aims to help participants identify, analyse and avoid the main mistakes that people make when conducting challenging or contrary conversations.

By the end of the course, you will be better equipped to:

  • Prepare for and guide a difficult conversation towards a common goal

  • Listen to counterparts and empathise with their positions and views

  • Ask effective questions and encourage others to share their ideas

  • Maintain clarity and composure under pressure

  • Develop trust and maintain mutual respect

  • Not leave important issues unresolved.

What should you expect?

This is an experiential and interactive workshop that revolves around the analyses of real-life ‘difficult conversations’ in small groups, with the support of two facilitators. The workshop uses the popular GROW model (Goal-Reality-Options-What Next?) for setting goals and solving emerging issues. The workshop is strictly limited to 10 participants and can be tailored to in-house settings in which the facilitators will analyse more subject-specific conversations.

Participants will be emailed an article, The Five Mistakes We Make When Having a Hard Conversation, prior to the workshop, and will be asked to answer a few short questions to provide the facilitators with key baseline information. Time spent preparing and reflecting during the lead-up to the workshop will help to ensure you get the most out of the day.

Who is the facilitator?

This workshop will be led by Matt Boesenberg and Marg Mills – two highly experienced and passionate facilitators with Method9, which has been delivering behavioural and communication workshops with IPAA since 2008.

Over two decades, Matt Boesenberg has worked both locally and internationally with a diverse group of clients including law firms, financial services companies, medical practitioners, government departments, and listed companies.

His unique combination of consulting with PwC and acting – including in popular TV shows such as Underbelly and Newton’s Law – has made Matt one of the most sought-after specialists in his field.

Marg Mills has helped hundreds of people across both the public and private sectors to communicate more clearly, empathetically and confidently. She also has long experience as an actor, including award-winning performances in the major theatre companies of Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth, as well as several TV credits.

For the past 20 years, in Australia, Asia and the US, Marg has coached individuals to listen accurately, navigate difficult agendas, and structure their messages for greater impact.


Non Members - $832.00

Personal Members

  • Early Career - $666.00

  • Fellow - $499.00

  • Fellow (Retired) - $499.00

  • Retired - $666.00

  • Professional - $666.00

  • Student - $666.00

  • Reciprocal - $666.00

Staff of Organisation Members

  • Silver (S) - $666.00

  • Silver - $624.00

  • Gold - $583.00

  • Platinum - $499.00

All prices are GST inclusive

Check your organisation’s membership level here.

Who Should Attend?

This half-day workshop delivers a series of vital ‘life lessons’ on managing and negotiating challenging conversations, which are equally applicable to executives and senior managers as to junior staff who might encounter discordant or contradictory viewpoints in their work. The common nature of these lessons mean they can also be used to help managers develop coaching skills and better influence their employees on behavioural challenges in the workplace.

Contact us for more information.

Earlier Event: 27 February
Speech Writing
Later Event: 12 March
Skilled Minute-taking