Summary of Difficult Conversations
First Edition: 1999
Copyright © Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen, 1999. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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You will face difficult conversations throughout your life, but now you can learn how to cope with them. This book provides a framework and various strategies for achieving better outcomes from hard exchanges. Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen use principles, illustrative stories and charts to teach you how to understand the components of challenging conversations, and how to prepare for them and transform them into something constructive. The language of the book is clear, insightful, concise and always helpful. You can use these principles in business, but the stories also concern relationships in your everyday life. getAbstract says everyone from teenagers to mature adults can use the communication skills discussed in this wise book.
In this summary, you will learn
- Why understanding the underlying structure of difficult conversations will help you handle them better;
- What the “Three Conversations” are in every difficult conversation;
- Why understanding someone’s contribution is more effective than assigning blame; and
- How listening more authentically will enable the other party to hear you.
About the Authors
Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen are professors at Harvard Law School and are part of the Harvard Negotiation Project. They have each written, spoken and consulted on negotiation and communication.
Comment on this summary
3 years agoThis is the all-time best book I've ever read (and re-read) on communication. I learned new, constructive ways to view conflict that I've never heard anywhere else, i.e., people do what makes sense to them... Even if it seems crazy to you, it makes sense to them, which means that they have information you don't have. Initiate a learning conversation to find out their information.
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