This is a great set of lessons with real life examples on how to deal with difficult conversations. I now use these steps in my every day life and it has already made a difference to my difficult conversations.
This is far and away the best, most complete book on how to approach and manage conflict and discussions most of us would rather avoid. It confronts all aspects of "difficult conversations" and gives valuable tips and tools for getting through them better. I come back to this book all the time. I can't live without it.
Douglas Stone has the gentlest voice and is perfect for the Emotions section. The dramatized conversation at the end is fantastic.
No. This was a first, I was skeptical. I usually prefer one voice in a book, but this was very well done.
I think the best advice is to "turn UP the volume" on your feelings. Listening to your feelings and having a conversation with yourself before engaging in a tough talk is great advice.
These people are the best. The Harvard Negotiation Project has done a great service in writing these books. This is profound work and a pretty great audiobook, too.
The "3 conversations": What happened, How do I feel about it, and What does it say about me?
The Jewish couple arguing about Sabbath.
Don't think of this as a narration. Think of it as a training video without the visuals. If you do, the narration won't seem so bad.
Paid actors and orators are a must in any audiobook, much less a six hour long audiobook. There is surely useful information, but I could not get past the lackluster performance by the authors and situation actors. It lowered the credibility of the message in my eyes.
Pay a professional to act and read.
I have always thought that I was a super thoughtful and reasonable person when it came to handling a conflict. I prided myself on how well I could talk through problems. It was one of the things I liked best about myself. I have learned so much from this book. I was so wrong about myself! What a cool thing to discover that you can be so blind and wrong about yourself and that you can do so much better at something so important. This book has changed me. It teaches attitude changes. It's smart. Really really smart! I have told everyone I love to read it. 4 stars for performance because one of the three readers is not a great speaker. She is a bit awkward. At first it's hard to listen to her, but you get use to her and it becomes a non issue.
Yes, I would because even though it shows the examples on a very simple way, sometimes maybe too simple, it reminds us of some basic principals that make the difference.
I would definitely avoid another book from the same authors. I bought this book based mostly on modest credentials of the authors: "15 years of work at the Harvard Negotiation Project", but came away extremely disappointed.
With 15 years of work under the belt, I figured that it should have been possible to give some real examples of people in difficult situations, but the examples lack substance and appeared contrived and fictional.
They seemed seemed like (and probably were) a collection of random role plays. What made it worst was that the solutions presented did not sound like they were good solutions at all.
It could have been a much better book by focusing building a mental model and give numerous real examples of real people to illustrate how difficult conversations can be handled effectively.
In one chapter, the authors mentioned using "third stories," which means how each person should restate the situation from a neutral third party's view point, realize how far the two parties are apart, and then somehow resolve the conflict. But if you have worked in the real world long enough, you would have realized that though restating the problem is perhaps a good start, it is not enough to resolve conflicts. Yes, I said somehow resolve the conflict because I did not see any meaningful tool for resolving the conflict itself. People don't come hat in hand to when you just restated the problem for them.
Another advise was... to realize and prepare for the consequences when you refuse requests. Realizing the consequences did not sound like a tool for resolving conflicts. At one point one of the fictional character was presented to confront his somewhat unreasonable boss to refuse working over the weekend, even though the character had prior commitments. The solution was to basically tell the boss that he had commitments already and be prepared for the consequences. This is just brilliant! So the only thing the guy has managed to avoid was blowing up at his boss? Am I missing something?
For some reason all the fictional characters all had very negative self talk -- this was not necessary and detracts from the message (if there was one, but I must have missed it). There was very little structure to what is being taught, or substance -- this is a far greater problem. If I could ask for a refund on the book, I would.
If you were looking for a tool to resolve difficult situations, I wholeheartedly recommend Getting More.
My advise for the authors was stated at the top of this review. Sort out what kind of mental model you are building, discuss the model, substantiate it with real world (instead of horribly contrived) examples.
If you have trouble doing this, then maybe you need to go back to the drawing board and question whether you approach to difficult conversations is sufficient for, well, difficult conversations.
I would suggest replacing the narrators, and re-examine the content for opportunity for a complete rewrite.
Also, role-playing did not work out particularly well for this title. I would cut them out altogether.
Normally I don't write reviews for any audio books. This book was bad enough for me to write about it so others don't waste hours of their life out of their busy schedule, which I had the displeasure to do.
Difficult Conversations gave me the courage and know-how to address specific problems with dignity and respect for the other party and myself. While I chose this book to assist me in my day to day work in managing people and issues, I have found it helps in my personal life as well. The teachings in this book encourage you to view a problem without assumptions based on past experiences. It helps you avoid getting into misunderstandings and hard feelings.
Marty Jacobs consults in the areas of strategic planning, board governance, leadership development, and community engagement.
This is one of the best guides for effectively handling difficult conversations - those conversations that are often fraught with emotion and conflict. Difficult conversations all share a common structure, which is the gap between what is said and what is not said. The authors, all members of the Harvard Negotiation Project, first outline the underlying structures that make conversations difficult and then move to discussing an approach that alleviates those problems. The main thrust of the book is to enter the conversation from a learning stance, rather than one that is judgmental or defensive. Other key elements for successfully navigating a difficult conversation are to understand the difference between impact and intent and to focus on interests rather than positions. The authors tie everything together at the end of the book by revisiting one of the scenarios used throughout the book and coaching one of the participants in this scenario through the conversation.
This book helped me understand the importance of building an strategy before confronting a difficult conversation. Well narrated, excellent examples, too bad I was not available in unabridged version.