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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Difficult Conversations: Rules of the Road

This is the eight and LAST of a series of posts based on my review of the book, Difficult Conversations (By Stone, Patton and Heen, Penguin Books, 2000). I highly recommend this book.

Rules of the road: Finally, here are a few rules that can help in difficult conversations.

1. Don’t start by blaming, telling, or accusing: Saying, “You’re just being overbearing….” can only lead to counterpunching and pain.

2. Focus on them first…first seek to understand, then to be understood (Covey).

3. Uncover feelings and assumptions: Most feelings are rooted in assumptions, many of which are often wrong…but if not handled well can become a reality.

3. Reframe Counter Attacks: Sometimes, even your best intentions are thwarted and people go on the attack when you bring up differences, even with the third story in mind.

--When the other person says: “It’s your fault, plain and simple.”

--You say: “I see that you’re upset about the house. I wonder if can ask you a few questions about it?”

Final words: Get this book (Difficult Conversations) and the CD (that has great mock difficult conversations played out). Like they say: Practice, practice, practice.

Good luck on with your own difficult conversations

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