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Difficult Conversations Cover Image

Difficult Conversations

How to discuss what matters most

Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen

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Difficult Conversations

Difficult Conversations Summary

Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock the book ‘Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most’. Upon hearing its title, you may wonder, don’t difficult conversations occur only in diplomatic, political, or business negotiations? Well, in fact, difficult conversations are part of each and everyone's life. At work or at home, we may run into difficult conversations. They can happen when our promotion request is turned down, or when a picky employee refuses to do their job. They can happen when we want to end a relationship but feel guilty about it, or when we try to convince our kids to study but they don't listen. Difficult conversations even take place when we fail to solve trivial problems with our neighbors. Such conversations, though seemingly common, bring us anxiety and put us in a dilemma. We don't want to hurt others, while we also want to be treated fairly. So what makes our conversations so difficult? And how should we deal with them? The book ‘Difficult Conversations’ offers us great solutions. This book is the product of fifteen years of research by the Harvard Negotiation Project. Sometimes referred to as the “Harvard Method,” the book aims to solve our communication problems by teaching us essential ways of thinking, the right stances to take toward our feelings, and skills to communicate effectively. These guidelines can help us solve various communication problems so that we can manage our relationships well in different situations. Whether they are personal or involving business and diplomatic negotiations, we will always be able to handle the conversations with great ease using the tools offered in this book. The book has been an international bestseller since its publication. Readers from all walks of life have responded positively to it. It has helped parents who have a hard time ensuring their children’s education find the right way to educate them. It has also helped company leaders solve internal conflicts and keep their teams united. The book is used as a teaching material at many law schools, business schools, and other colleges. The authors of the book summarize three components of difficult conversations and the corresponding strategies to deal with them. They also give us problem-solving suggestions to help us shift our conversation from a “message delivery stance” to a “learning stance.” Subsequently, the authors then give us detailed steps on how to tackle a difficult conversation. They teach readers the skills and tactics on how to start a conversation, ask the right questions, and bring a conversation back on track when it reaches a deadlock. This book was co-authored by three renowned American communication experts, Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen. Douglas Stone is a well-known communication expert in the U.S. He has provided consulting services to many top tier organizations, including Boeing, Accenture, IBM, JP Morgan. Bruce Patton is co-author of the bestseller ‘Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In’. Sheila Heen is a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. She also coaches lawyers and executives in big companies on relevant subjects. This bookey will unlock the book for you in two parts. Part One: Why difficult conversations happen. Part Two: How to correctly handle difficult conversations.

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