Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most [Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, The Little Book of Restorative Discipline for Schools: Teaching. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most [Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Author interviews, book reviews, editors' picks, and more. Difficult Conversations book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Whether you're dealing with an under performing employee.
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In this crazy business environment, when you're having more difficult conversations than ever before, the tools the book offers are indispensible. Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. Praise. “Does this book deliver on its promise of an effective way through sticky situations, whether 'with your babysitter or your biggest client'? It does.”.
All participants in a difficult conversation contribute to the outcome. You also need to understand what the people involved are thinking and feeling, but not saying to each other. When you have to deliver bad news, whether it is to fire someone or tell the children that you are getting a divorce, go in with the purpose of giving them the news, of taking responsibility for your part in the outcome, of showing that you care about how they feel, and of trying to be helpful going forward.
This is not a book you read for entertainment or mere information, but one you read to get a deeper understanding of the intricacies and complexities of difficult conversations. The checklist and roadmap at the end of the book is a great review. I recommend this book. These two agreements can help to diffuse heated conversations, or prevent conversations from escalating. Contribution Don't talk about blame; talk about contributions to the problem.
This is philosophy stuff, but the difference between having caused something vs. Cause is about the chain of events which lead to some outcome. Responsibility or blame is a complex, socially-constructed ethical claim. Think again of a drunk driver who runs over a pedestrian: But it's also obvious that the pedestrian contributed to the accident by walking across the street; similarly, the driver's friends contributed by not doing more to keep him from drinking and driving. Talking about blame is useful if the goal of the conversation is figuring out who to punish.
But if your goal is to problem-solve, then talking about contribution instead of blame frees you from decreeing a judgment and lets you concentrate on the practical question of, "What can we change to fix this in the future? That doesn't mean you shouldn't get angry, just that your anger should be directed toward finding solutions rather than scapegoats.
Also, when you try to raise the issue of contributions during a difficult conversation, own your contributions to the problem first, then explain what you think they contributed. This may take the other person off the defensive and make them more open to hearing about their own contribution, because it signals that you're not trying to cast them as the sole villain. And always make your reasoning explicit: Let go of trying to control their reaction. That's outside your power.
Prepare emotionally, ahead of time for their response. Imagine yourself in the distant future, to get some perspective on just how important this conversation really is. Take a break if you need it. Learning the other person's story. Expressing your views and feelings.
Problem solving together. Convincing the other person it's their fault, thus proving you're an impeccable badass. Even If You Can't Work It Out Keep in mind that all this hippie-dippy stuff about listening to the other person's story and exploring feelings and reframing blame into contribution doesn't mean you cave into whatever they want you to do.
Contra John McCain, there is a difference between listening to someone you disagree with and consenting to their demands. You can make strong demands on someone without acting like a bully or a blowhard.
If you do end up without an amenable solution, be clear about what you're doing and why. Don't be passive-aggressive; be calm-assertive. As I've said, the pay is better, and I don't feel confident enough about working conditions here for me to stay on. But I appreciate you taking the time to discuss this with me View 1 comment.
Aug 08, Otis Chandler rated it really liked it Shelves: I read this on a recommendation from a friend who gave it to me on a list of business books to read.
But it was so much more. It gives you a great framework for thinking through why people have communication issues - whether in personal or professional relationships. The best piece of advice that stuck with me is to always explain where you are coming from in a discussion.
Sometimes we think its obvious and it isn't, and it always helps the conversation when people I read this on a recommendation from a friend who gave it to me on a list of business books to read. Sometimes we think its obvious and it isn't, and it always helps the conversation when people understand your reasoning. View 2 comments.
Aug 24, Jaclyn rated it liked it. This book will help anyone get a better handle on tricky interactions. downloader beware, though: Difficult Conversations provides a solid foundation to understand what contributes to communication meltdowns. This is easier said that done. As a result, I experienced a lot of frustration as I read this book. Every chapter feels like well-articulated common sense, which makes the difficulty of implementation all the more demoralizing. ADHD adults and other communication-challenged people embarking on this journey will need a partner willing to endure a lot of practice, reflection, and setbacks.
That said, Difficult Conversations still provided an indispensable Step One on the path to better relationships. Feb 18, Mimi rated it it was amazing Shelves: You know that book that you recommend to everyone because you feel so strongly it can help anyone change their life in profound ways?
This one is mine. It sat in my book pile for years and I would pick it up and put it down. I wish I had truly read it years earlier and I wish the same for you. In case you're wondering, yes I have used what I learned in this book on you. If you're lucky I'll use it on you again in the future. Jan 25, Ellie rated it really liked it Shelves: I don't read many self help books any more and apparently according to Goodreads I've already read this one before and rated it 3 stars.
This time it goes up to 4 stars. And I found it so interesting and potentially helpful I replaced my library copy with a tree one as soon as I finished. I'm not good at having "difficult conversations".
I do everything the authors say will happen if you avoid them: Anything to avoid confronting the object of my discom I don't read many self help books any more and apparently according to Goodreads I've already read this one before and rated it 3 stars. Anything to avoid confronting the object of my discomfort. And in the past, when I have tried to deal directly with someone, I have either blown up in self-righteous anger or retreated in self-blame. So this book offers a third path.
Lots of concrete suggestions as to how to make these conversations work: Lots of interesting scenarios. And answers to questions the authors have fielded in the past. I want to reread this one and take notes.
Then try it out at work. Oct 01, Jessica rated it it was amazing. I constantly recommend this book to friends, family and colleagues. It was introduced to me in a negotiations class and I learned the most from this book over any other book I was made to read in my graduate studies. Although everyone would benefit from this book - I especially recommend this book to women for a particular reason.
Female characteristics and emotions such as empathy and sensitivity can be great assets in life don't let men tell you otherwise. However, especially in the male-dom I constantly recommend this book to friends, family and colleagues. However, especially in the male-dominated upper echelons of Corporate North America, it is important that we women know how to set those emotions aside and be equal powers at the discussion table.
While many of us will naturally mature and learn from our mentors, this book will give you some tools that will put you way ahead of the game in terms of these critical skills. The evidence is out there.
One of the reasons women are consistently paid less than men is because we avoid or aren't as strong at the difficult conversations that matter most - negotiating our raises, advocating for ourselves and taking credit for our accomplishments. So by that logic, reading this book will make you more money in your career: May 20, Laleh rated it it was amazing. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Clear, precise, to the point, it does exactly what it sets out to do. Although the book comes too late to save many a conversation I wish I'd never had, but hopefully I'll be able to manage my conversations more skillfully in the future. Dec 12, Kirtida Gautam rated it really liked it Shelves: It's a brilliant book that tells how humans sometimes fail to create impact in conversation because they fail to see the point of view of other people.
This is a true "missing manual". Contains so many effective strategies for getting to the heart of difficult issues and exploring them more collaboratively. I've noticed that some books in communication have more manipulative approaches for "influencing others", so I like how this one focuses on genuinely trying to understand the other person and how to express yourself in a way that is more productive.
Overall, very insightful.
Definitely will be able to use some of these tips on a daily basis. Tea rated it did not like it Shelves: What a piece of shit book. Ok, so this was touted as THE book to solve the personnel problems at the food coop I used to work at. My boss, being a corporate minded, new-ager, pop-psychology fan, was told by other managers that if she got the workers to read this book, then problems would practically dissolve.
We were asked to read it voluntarily. I was disappointed that I had wasted my time to read it. There are many things I dislike about it. One is that it speaks in the voice of management--not What a piece of shit book. One is that it speaks in the voice of management--not the voice of workers--who, in my case, it was intended for. This is an insidious way of pushing management speak into the minds of workers in order unconsciously align their thoughts with that of management.
Instead of sitting down with us and having an honest fucking discussion, we were constantly reminded that we're part of the problem too, and that we needed to see things from their point of view.
Another issue is that this book bases many of its examples on the use of real power to exploit workers. An example is in order. The set up is that there is a worker who has been asked to stay and work the weekend after being granted time off: Let's come back to Henry and Rosario.
Rosario's the boss. Henry's a valuable employee. If they can't arrive at a solution to the problem of whether Henry will work the weekend, then they each face some choices. Each needs to think about what they will do if they can't arrive at a solution together.
Let's imagine Henry decides to take the weekend off despite Rosario's continued insistence that he stay. Rather than just storming out, Henry should be clear about his feelings, interests, and choices.
He might say, "Rosario, I really am sorry. I want very much to be a good employee, and to help out when I can. Normally, I'm happy to work weekends and nights--I hope you've seen that in the past. It's simply a matter of notice. I feel badly about leaving you in the lurch; at the same time, these plans are really important to me, and I gave you plenty of notice and worked hard all week so that I could go away. So I don't like the choice, but given the choice, I'm going to go.
He may return on Monday to find that he no longer has a job. If he can live with that, or indeed prefers that, then going off with his friends makes sense.
And as often as not, he may return to find Rosario is both unhappy and more respecting of him and his time. Perhaps she will even apologize, or ask to talk about how to avoid such situations in the future. If Henry can't live with the possibility of losing his job, then his best choice is probably to work the weekend.
He'll feel disappointed that he didn't get to spend time with his friends, but he'll know he handled the conversation skillfully and made a wise choice in the end. His reward? The sense that he "skillfully" handled that situation and made the best choice regardless of the outcome.
The problem is that many people need a pay check to survive in wage slavery. Piece of mind isn't going to pay the bills. But we're led to believe that this is all in the best interests of those involved. So instead of the authors recognizing that a people need leisure, and b bosses can use situations like the above hypothetical to totally exploit their workers, we get advice to a keep your head down and do your job or b lose your job and potentially starve.
It's the simplistic and asinine kinds of examples above that make me want to use this book as toilet paper. If your boss starts telling you to read this book, read it critically--otherwise you might just feel sorry for the suckers who are trying to exploit you. Jul 12, Debra rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Although some of the tips may sound a little corny, I think this is a great book for pretty much everyone to read.
I definitely noticed a lot of the negative traps I fall into and I want to try some of the new tips suggested in the book. A conversation is affected by the image people have about themselves. People react when a conversation affects their identity. So the way one handles conversations is determined by how much one knows himself.
Both their feelings and your feelings. Identity Some conversations are very tough because they inherently touch our own sense of worth. A job review for example, or talking about how to fix a big mistake. We tend to think we are either great and everyone loves us, or we are terrible and unworthy.
And the chances that it will go well will immediately rise. My Note: The identity side will always hit harder those people who have a fixed mindset. Read here how to develop a growth mindset and how to develop an invincible identity.
Letting Go The authors say that while many of us tend too often to avoid difficult conversations, sometimes it does indeed make no sense to have the conversation.
Learning Conversations Third Story The authors offer great advice on how to go about having the conversation. They say most people start by describing the issue from their own perspective, which automatically raises the defensive barrier from the other party.
Example: For example, in my case my neighbor always opens the window of the common building entrance area. One the other party feels hear, it calms them down, makes them more likely to hear you and exponentially increases the chances of effective problem resolution.
The key to being a good listener is very simple: be genuinely curious and genuinely concerned about the other party.