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Comebacks at Work: Using Conversation to Master Confrontation Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
A handbook for anyone who's ever walked away from a work confrontation, fuming--only to think of the perfect rejoinder an hour later. Reardon (The Secret Handshake) breaks down the art of the comeback, emphasizing preparation, keeping your cool, and handling conflicts with a carefully thought-out strategy, pointing out that each of us is at least 75% responsible for how people respond to us. She helps readers change their mindsets, getting past the mental models learned early in life that we later use for dealing with emotional or threatening issues at work. Through a thorough briefing of the different kinds of bullies we might face at work--the puppeteer, the complainer, etc.--and strategies for telling when it's best to walk away and when it's time to engage, she guides readers to self-discovery and skills, from honing their gut instincts to mastering facial expressions and gestures needed to overcome comeback brain freeze. A lively, encouraging book, bound to banish l'esprit d'escalier forever.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A book that I love... how to stay cool, how to say the right thing...yet putting that person on notice in a polite and diplomatic way... I learned so much from it. It is a great, great book." --WNPR: Faith Middleton's Book Show
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Unfortunately, I am not, and have never been one of those people--I am an introvert (not shy), but not good with well thought out responses in the moment.
If you are like me, read this book now, and save yourself some sleepless nights over what you might have said (or not said).
My last few positions were filled with "politics"-some of it was just plain mean and ugly. It seemed to me that the hard working and honest people got the short end every time. Knowing some of what this book contained might have given me more flexibility.
I finally wised up to my own responsibilities in some of this, and thinking ahead of potential "situations" I began discussing potential responses with a close friend who is excellent at this kind of thing ("critical conversations was the code we used when I wanted to talk about something with her). Had I read this book, I would have focused my intellect on my responses and probably done better.
I am articulate, well read, educated, but I'm just not great in real time responses, and good "comebacks" are very difficult for me.
Consequently I feel I get taken advantage of. sometimes. Now I realize that even in everyday life, (even casually) our words and our responses matter. I have come to think of these as "critical conversations". I have to be prepared for them to get the outcome I want. And -- situations manifest all the time-- in restaurants, at sporting events, at the doctor's office, in the grocery store.
I think this book is relevant formuch more than "work". For me, it is making me pause and think of all kinds of situations -- even though retired, I deal with a lot of people throughout the week. And there is my family--how do you handle "inappropriate" requests and off the cuff comments from friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and ..."me centered" . family members? I've already learned a couple of really good and innocuous comebacks to snide remarks.
After reading this book, I am starting to feel like saying that catch line for the COPD medicine: "watch out, piggies!". I am rereading it, so I can make some notes and have this in my repertoire. I am taking some of my own life back.
Some of the things this book covers have happened to me personally; I'm sure they've happened to most of those reading this review. The question is: what do you do?
First, you should begin to evaluate your work (and life) situations to see where you are deficient (this book helps you do that). Then I think you should "practice" (yes, I mean in front of a mirror) some of these comebacks.
Sometimes you know a situation or a conversation is coming--if you know this, and you read the possible ways to deal with it, you can be more prepared. Then you can kind of "rehearse" (I call it "creative visualization") it and come up with things the other person might say. At least you won't be fumbling for a response. And if you don't realize that some people are VERY good at putting you on the defensive (and they well aware of it) then you definitely need to read this book.
This book helps you to know what to say: There is another book on a similar topic that I have also found extremely helpful: LifeCode by Dr. Phil. Dr. Phil's book helps you recognize the kinds of people you are dealing with and then shows you how to build "circles of trust" (my term, not his) to keep people from taking advantage of you.
These books articulate what we know but can't describe. More than that, they show specific means to stay balanced and focused.
One negative, but NOT the author's fault. LIke every Kindle book I've owned, I can't make the diagrams larger. There is at least one decision tree diagram in this book, and I can't make it out.