Key Principles, Insights and Actionable Exercises
Most people balk at the thought of having to go through a difficult conversation, whether that’s giving constructive feedback to an employee, bringing up an issue with a friend, getting to the bottom of a conflict with a neighbor, or simply saying “no” to a loved one.
In their book, “Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most,” Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen define a difficult conversation as “anything you find hard to talk about.” These are conversations with high stakes – where there is a relationship, money, or emotional well-being on the line.
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about difficult conversations is that they can’t be avoided, so it’s key to learn how to engage them wisely. When difficult conversations happen, they become pillars for successful relationships—business or personal. In fact, one cannot really expect to elevate without mastering the art of engaging in these conversations.
Read on to learn the common pitfalls to avoid, what an ‘emotional footprint is’, how to handle the many conversation types, and have a framework to follow to ensure that your difficult conversations are productive, meaningful and loving.