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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No matter who we are, we all have difficult conversations too often, that don't go as well as we would like.
A book on CD called to me when I saw its captivating title: DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS: HOW TO DISUCSS WHAT MATTERS MOST--written and read by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen.

The fact that Patton was one of the authors also caught my attention, in that he was the coauthor of one of my favorite books on negotiations, GETTING TO YES!

This...
Published on January 11, 2011 by Blaine Greenfield

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware when you get it...
I think this book has too many examples and ways situations could happen. In my opinion, there should be more ideas and less situations.
Published 11 months ago by Nicole Akerson


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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No matter who we are, we all have difficult conversations too often, that don't go as well as we would like., January 11, 2011
This review is from: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Paperback)
A book on CD called to me when I saw its captivating title: DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS: HOW TO DISUCSS WHAT MATTERS MOST--written and read by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen.

The fact that Patton was one of the authors also caught my attention, in that he was the coauthor of one of my favorite books on negotiations, GETTING TO YES!

This effort covers such topics as dealing with your ex-husband who can't seem to show up reliably for weekends with the kinds navigating a workplace fraught with office politics or racial tensions, and saying "I'm sorry" or "I love you." No matter who we are, we've all had to have similar conversations and too often, they don't go as well as we would like.

DIFFICULT CONVERSATONS at least makes them easier by providing such useful advice as the following:

* Use "and" to help you become clearer; e.g.,, "I understand what you're saying, and I feel this way."

* Put things on the table without judgments.

* Saying "I feel" will cause the other person to be less likely to argue with you.

* Postponing a conversation can sometimes be helpful.

* Sometimes, actions are better than conversations; e.g., going to a mother's home rather than always being asked, "When are you going to come home?"

* People are more likely to change when they don't have to.

* If you don't have a question, don't ask one; e.g., "Are you going to clean the refrigerator?" vs. "Please clean the refrigerator."

And this one final tidbit, which I have personally found very useful: Be careful when making judgments. It is easy to say, "Spanking is wrong," but a better way to say this might well be, "I believe spanking is wrong."
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my top three recommended books, December 7, 2010
This review is from: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Paperback)
This book (the 2000 version) saved my sanity once and got me through a very stressful family time. Not only did it help with my relationships, it helped me to think about the problem in a different way that gave me greater peace of mind and clarity of thought and purpose. Everyone on the planet should buy, not borrow, this book, and read it every year.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very pragmatic, September 17, 2013
This review is from: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Paperback)
I like this book. It doesn't presume that it will solve your problems. It acknowledges that the other party has to want to participate in fixing the problem. It basically just tells you techniques on how not to make the situation worse, and what will likely lead to an improvement.

After reading it, the problems don't seem less daunting, but I do feel more confident knowing what mistakes I've been making in the past. I used to be the type who thought if I had the loudest and most fear-inducing bark, then I'd be sure to get my way. I figured out after a number of shouting matches hurling hurtful words that that doesn't work. Eventually, I became the type to avoid arguments altogether believing they weren't worth it, and whatever problem it was, I'd have to live with it (b/c from my experience no matter what is said or done people are going to see only their point of view and therefore not desire to accommodate me). That made me miserable. I became the most passive aggressive person you'll ever meet, lol. I wouldn't bother to have a conversation, just react by cutting off the person, avoiding eye contact with them, or just quitting.

This book has been really enlighting b/c I do so many of the things they warn against. I definitely suffer identity crises, and take the all-or-nothing stance. I do assume I know someone's intent when their actions have affected me negatively. This is going to take a lot of practice, but I already know the alternative, and I don't want to end up alone and jobless, so this is what I'll have to do.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book - very eye-opening!, May 18, 2012
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This review is from: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Paperback)
I don't normally write reviews, but this book was great. I was skeptical and figured it would just list a bunch of suggestions that aren't practical in the real world, but I was wrong. Some of the material was very eye-opening, especially the topics that deal with looking at yourself to see how you may be contributing to the problem. Highly recommended!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Diificult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, February 9, 2012
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This review is from: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Paperback)
I found Stone, Patton, and Heen of the Harvard Negotiation Project helpful in bringing professional negotiating skills to bear on the problems of everday life. Their premise is that every conversation is really three conversations: the "what happened" conversation, the emotional conversation and the indentity conversation. This helps one seperate these three conversations that get stuck together in one's mind. The book gives the reader tools that allow them to turn any difficult conversation into a learning opportunity. As I have applied these tools to my difficult conversations they may not have become easier, but I feel they have been less destructive and certianly less intimidating. I have found using the print book with repeated listenings to the audio book version has helped the concepts become more second nature and accessible to me in the moments I need them the most. Recomended reading for anyone, because we all have difficult conversations once in a while
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent book on a great subject, September 23, 2013
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This review is from: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Paperback)
I will start by admitting I have terrible communication skills and sought this book out after reading about it in "Almost a psychopath," by Jim Silver. I know what I want to say does not normally come out the way I tend for it to do which has caused me countless unnecessary trouble in my life. I thought the layout of the book and its contents were incredible. I thoroughly enjoyed how the authors utilized different learning styles as much as book could allow, for example pseudo conversations, tables, graphs, etc. I've noticed a difference in how I approach and react to conversations whether they be difficult or day to day. However I still am struggling with trying to communicate effectively with a loved one in my life, in time with practice I have faith my goals will be completed. I enjoyed the responses to the top 10 FAQ in the back, the part on email and texting have been a real life saver! Since reading this book I've also added some new ones of my lists of books to read. Outstanding read and I recommend it to everyone since we all communicate with each other in some form or another.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is considered the Bible in the conflict resolution industry, September 25, 2013
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Lulu Shepard (Thetford Center, Vermont United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Paperback)
I am training to be a mediator and this book was distributed to us as a bible for engaging in difficult conversations. For me, the book is most helpful in illuminating why conversations can be so difficult or intense. It helps break them down into parts or in slow motion so you can understand better what is creating the roadblock, or the resistance. For instance, most difficult conversations have unspoken emotions underlying them. This book aims at helping you identify yours and others since without understanding the underlying emotions, most people can't truly understand each other. The book is very helpful but as with all true change, it takes focus and plenty of practice. A workbook containing tons of hypothetical examples to accompany this book would be very helpful to practice the principles. Having said that, I am sending a copy to my two young adult nephews. I think young adults who are just now facing difficult roommates, intimidating bosses, manipulative co-workers would find this book a godsend. And since they haven't had years to develop bad habits like the rest of us, they probably won't need the workbook! :)
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why another review?, December 27, 2011
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This review is from: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Paperback)
I agree with the observations from many of the 5 star reviews, this book provides a number of valuable insights about one possible way to view, understand and approach difficult conversations. However I do have one comment that I didn't see from the reviews I looked at - they provide little data about how well their approach works. It is after all just one approach, and while elements of the approach seem like they would be helpful and effective, there are other approaches to difficult (and not so difficult) conversations that also have a certain element of appeal to them (e.g. transactional analysis, warm fuzzies/cold pricklies etc). The authors claim to have worked through difficult conversations with a number of participants. It would really add tremendously to the book to have some data about how things turned out say with 500 couples going through counseling where 250 read the book and 250 didn't and then comparing the divorce rate or some such. Furthermore there's definitely a skew here where the outcomes are likely to be better if both parties have read the book, which generally won't be the case. Some data on how well these techniques work when only one party is practicing them would also (hopefully) strongly support their approach.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, July 12, 2013
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This review is from: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Paperback)
I chose this rating because it helped me on apersonal level and it also taught me how to go about having discussions at work about subjects that have negative feed back. It taught me how to present negative information in a positive way so that the receiving party would hear what was being said and respond to that feedback in a non threatning environment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars definitely helpful, worthwhile read, but...., November 6, 2014
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I have to agree with a number of other reviews that the examples given, or at least the amount of them, is overkill. Those probably added 20% of additional material that made the really really good findings/insights/lessons harder, for me at least, to digest. I'm not critic or scholar though. Please read this, you'll find some very helpful lessons.
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Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone (Paperback - November 2, 2010)
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