Most if not all difficult conversations have similar patterns from which lessons can be learned to better engage in them. This is the basic assertion of the authors of Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. From their website:
Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most was developed over ten years of work at the Harvard Negotiation Project. Written to help professionals, parents, teachers, government officials, corporations and communities, Difficult Conversations offers a concrete, step-by-step approach to preparing for and conducting your most challenging conversations.
The authors divide difficult conversations into categories:
- What happened? conversation
- Feelings conversation
- Identity conversation
Each conversation has distinct pitfalls and opportunities. The authors offer clear guidance about navigating each of these conversations in a way that bears fruit. Difficult Conversations is written with many relevant examples that illustrate and add valuable content.
I found the practical style of this book to be quite helpful and it is one that I will keep on my shelf for a long time. I recommend this to leaders, parents, and anyone anticipating a difficult conversation at some time in the future.