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Failure to Communicate: How Conversations Go Wrong and What You Can Do to Right Them Paperback – May 4, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 142213749X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422137499
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Failure to Communicate helps you untangle yourself from the grip of emotions during heated exchanges, and clearly navigate through anger, stress, nerves and confusion." --ManagerSmarter.com, September 16, 2008 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Holly Weeks teaches, publishes and consults on communications issues through her company, Holly Weeks Communications. She is an Adjunct Lecturer in Management Leadership and Decision Sciences at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Visiting Pro-Seminar Lecturer in Communication and Vision Speech at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
45%
4 star
45%
3 star
9%
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See all 11 customer reviews
Pretty good but basic stuff.
Amazon Customer
I highly recommend her book to those who have supervisory responsibilities in the workplace, who have frequent conversations with those for whom they are responsible.
Robert Morris
The author's diagnostic and remedies for tough conversations is probably the most important self-help book I've read in decades.
MyMusings

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As Holly Weeks explains in her introductory chapter, "This book offers a system of strategies and tactics to help us navigate the treacherous minefields we may suddenly find ourselves in when we approach and try to get through - rather than avoid - prickly conversations. Strategies are the thinking part of these conversations. Balanced strategies replace the blanking out, gut reactions, and other horrors that slip in when conversations turn tough and ordinary thinking fails. Tactics are the handling part - what we do in the moment when our counterparts, or our own emotions, are giving us trouble." I wish I had a dollar bill for each time I have heard an obviously frustrated person complain that what someone else heard was not the intended meaning of what was said. This is perhaps the most common communication failure and perhaps one of the most common causes of what Weeks characterizes as a "prickly" conversation. The material provided in this book may help some readers to communicate their intended meaning more effectively or correct any misunderstandings. "But its true purpose is to help you handle conversations of an altogether greater magnitude." Weeks then goes on to say, "When people carry a combat mentality, as well as painful emotions, into a conversation with unseen problems, goodwill is not enough to prevent damage on both sides." That's why such conversations are -- or can unexpectedly become -- "prickly." In that event, skills are needed "that will make you a better colleague, a better leader, and a better human being." Moreover, these skills must be applicable to whatever the specific circumstances may be.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lauren Laudato on April 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In Holly Weeks' book "Failure to Communicate" I feel that she effectively addresses issues pertaining to how to handle a conflict situation. Everyone has been in the situation where communication breaks down and it is difficult to fix. This book successfully gives tactics that every person can use in the event of a conflict situation. I feel that this book was very organized and easy to read. It was also very beneficial whenever Holly used real life examples of communication conflicts. Then she walks the reader through ways to hypothetically correct these situations. I found this part most beneficial to the reader. I liked also that Holly based this book off of the premise that no matter how difficult communication seems to be, you can always work through it. She stresses the matter that you must have respect for yourself, respect for your counterpart, and finally respect for your situation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
You're leading a routine department meeting when all of a sudden you are under attack. Your first instinct is either to negotiate a withdrawal or to fight back with every weapon in your verbal arsenal. Destructive, winner-take-all word wars happen daily in conference rooms around the world, wiping out reputations, relationships and self-esteem. Communication expert Holly Weeks analyzes what goes wrong in these confrontational conversations and provides strategies you can use to converse productively without engaging in vocal warfare. Her generous use of real-life examples clearly illustrates where conversations turn injurious and how using her proactive tactics can help. If you've ever felt the sting of a poisonous barb or the slash of a cutting remark, getAbstract recommends this book as the perfect salve.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Pretty good but basic stuff. Key points

1. Bring respect to a conversation
2. Emphasize the other persons's point of view
3. Don't let your emotions get involved.

Read the book for more detail and lots of examples from real business cases. Well organized and thought through.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Inigo Astarloa on January 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
What I liked most about this book is that touches very common situations everybody experiences and provides a framework to understand what is going on and how to prevent things from going wrong. This will be helpful to those who try to avoid conflict (most of us) by allowing them to see the situation from the outside, eliminating a lot of the anxiety involved. But it also will help people who do not care about conflict and even enjoy it since their usual approach is not generally the most effective to achieve the best outcome.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shlomo Vaknin on April 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
The toughest discussions are not the ones we expect to be difficult, but the ones we expect to be easy and quickly go completely wrong. Why this happens and what we can do about it is exactly what we learn in communication expert Holly Weeks's book.

Nobody likes to be attacked out of the blue, but the fact of the matter is that it happens, so the key thing is to be prepared by reacting appropriately. Instead of letting meeting deteriorate into verbal brawls, you can keep them on track and accomplish your goals. A very useful book, especially for people in Human Resources or who often chair meetings.
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Failure to Communicate: How Conversations Go Wrong and What You Can Do to Right Them
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