Difficult Conversations

“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

– George Bernard Shaw

How often do we function in this world of illusion? Our conversations are sometimes like wishing on a star. We hope (or expect) that somebody got the message!

When we are faced with difficult conversations, our communication skills are challenged even more. Authors, Bruce  Patton, Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone, outline the effective strategies that they have developed from their years of research and experience in their book, Difficult Conversations. They propose that every difficult conversation is actually functioning at three different levels. Each one is called a “Conversation”.

The “What Happened” Conversation

“Often we go through an entire conversation – or indeed an entire relationship – without ever realizing that each of us is paying attention to different things, that our views are based on different information.”

Douglas Stone

The Feelings Conversation

“-difficult conversations do not just involve feelings, they are at their very core about feelings.”

-Douglas Stone

 The Identity Conversation.

“What does this say about me?”

-Douglas Stone

Once each of these conversations has been examined in detail, considering both your own perspective and that of the other person, you can take the final step:

Choose your Purpose (Why are you having this Conversation)

“When blame is the goal, understanding is the casualty.”

-Douglas Stone

Check out the resources below from Triad Consulting (founded by Stone and Heen) to get started on a better path for successfully handing Difficult Conversations:




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