If you have an opportunity to do so—if you have the luxury of planning ahead—put some thought into where and when to hold your important conversation. We often underestimate the effect of our environments on our emotions, thoughts and behaviors. Finding a setting where the two of you will be comfortable will help you lower your defenses and focus your energies on the conversation. You can pick a quiet restaurant rather than a deafeningly loud one, set up a morning meeting rather than a late one so everyone is fresher, or pick spot away from the office to put you and your colleague in a more open mindset. A change of scenery can often help people see things in a new light rather than defaulting to old scripts.