This is the third of a series of posts based on my review of the book, Difficult Conversations (By Stone, Patton and Heen, Penguin Books, 2000)...highly recommend this book.
Several elements to consider before wading into the "what happend" phase of a difficult conversation:
1. Truth: Each person in an argument thinks they’re right, and the other person is, well, wrong. Simple enough but equally unproductive. Fact is, both are equally right and wrong!
3. Intention: I think your impact on me relates to your intention. You hurt me, so you must be mean. Wrong. Most of the time, we have NO idea what the other person’s intentions are. Fact is, we hardly even know our own intentions.
4. Blame: Pointing fingers anywhere but at yourself is a useless waste of time and only causes frustration and anger for all concerned. There is no blame in good difficult conversations…only contribution. Both parties contribute to the overall third story (the mediator’s story—what a neutral listener might hear).
--More later this week on how to have the "What Happened Conversation." Next...the "Feelings Conversation."