Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss what Matters Most

Front Cover
Penguin Books, 1999 - Business & Economics - 250 pages
153 Reviews
Members of the Harvard Negotiation Project -- the organization that brought you the megabestseller GETTING TO YES -- show you how to handle your most difficult conversations with confidence and skill

Whether we're dealing with an underperforming employee, disagreeing with our spouse about money or child-rearing, negotiating with a difficult client, or simply saying "no", or "I'm sorry", or "I love you", we attempt to avoid difficult conversations every day. No matter how competent we are, we all have conversations that cause anxiety and frustration.

This book can help. Based on fifteen years of research at the Harvard Negotiation Project, Difficult Conversations walks you through a proven step-by-step approach for how to have you toughest conversations with less stress and more success. It shows you how to prepare yourself; how to start the conversation without defensiveness; and how to keep it constructive and focused regardless of how the other person responds. You'll learn how to:
-- Decipher the underlying structure of every difficult conversation
-- Interpret the significance of what is said -- and what is not
-- Identify the erroneous but deeply ingrained assumptions that keep you stuck
-- Manage strong emotions -- yours and theirs
-- Spot ways your self-image affects the conversation -- and ways the conversation affects your self-image

Filled with examples from everyday life, Difficult Conversations will help you at home, on the job, or out in the world. It is a book you'll turn to again and again for advice, practical skills, and reassurance.

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It was really good and had some great tips and advice. - Goodreads
Excellent reference! - Goodreads
This reads like a textbook, very dry writing. - Goodreads

Review: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

User Review  - Ellen - Goodreads

Classic supplemental text for intro negotiation classes remains kind of annoying in its (genre-appropriate) reductiveness. Still worth a re-read every once in a while. Read full review

Review: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

User Review  - Torrey Peace - Goodreads

I am excited to start using some of the great tips in this book and have already started using them with success in my personal life. A book I will definitely be referring to repeatedly in the future. Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen teach at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Negotiation Project. They have been consultants to businesspeople, governments, organizations, communities, and individuals around the world, and have written on negotiation and communication in publications ranging from the New York Times to Parents magazine. Bruce Patton is also a co-author of Getting to Yes. Each of them lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen teach at the Harvard Law School and the Harvard Negotiation Project, the group that produced the international bestseller "Getting to YES!" They have consulted to businesspeople, governments, organizations, communities, and individuals around the world, from the various parties to the negotiations on constitutional transition in South Africa to schoolteachers in Medellin, Colombia, to community leaders and the police department in Springfield, Massachusetts. They have written on negotiation and communications in publications ranging from "The New York Times" to "Parents" magazine. Bruce Patton is also coauthor of "Getting to YES!

Sheila Heen is a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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