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Customer Review

132 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to get to the heart of the matter through conversation, August 9, 2004
This review is from: Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time (Paperback)
Susan Scott has written an outstanding book on how to use everyday conversation to cut through the politics of work relationships and start talking about what we are all "pretending not to know". I was consistently impacted while reading it, not so much that the material is brand new, but that it is presented in such a way that the opportunities and misses of my own interactions were obvious.

One of the topics discussed is called "Mineral Rights", a type of conversation designed to get deep, past the surface and into the truth of what is going on. The approach accomplishes four purposes: Interrogate reality, provoke learning, tackle tough challenges, and enrich relationships. It has been my experience that this rarely happens in corporate America, and is rarer still where I work now. The book uses examples from various companies that have identified their core values and been honest enough with themselves and others to start acting on them. The many questions posed throughout the book, and the sections at the end of each chapter are a great way to start interrogating reality in your workplace. The answers usually are "in the room" if we can really get honest and start looking for them.

In addition to some great business council, much of the book focuses on how we get honest with ourselves. Often we are the problem, and our own inability to truly understand where our own issues lie, is an essential journey to better facilitate the kind of change we want in our business or relationships. Another great approach used is the "Decision Tree" to help build empowerment in others. Communicate clearly what decisions can be made and what must be communicated to others. (Page 252). Her insights into how silence is an effective communication tool, both internally and in interactions with others, were right on.

While this was all excellent, and perhaps the most well written summary of engaging communication approaches, what was the most powerful for me were the sections on our "emotional wake". We all leave an emotional wake behind us as we engage in conversations with people. The question is, what kind of wake do we want to leave? How do we want people to feel? This served as a great wake up call for me while reading.

Overall, this book is so full of great wisdom and insights I couldn't begin to do it justice here. From the opening examples to the very useful questions in the back and the study guides throughout, I believe this to be one of the best books on business and personal communication I have read. It is both deep and practical, both academically sound and real world tested, and is written in such a way that it felt like a conversation itself. Highly recommended!
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