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Strategies for Dealing with Difficult Conversations in “Difficult Conversations” by Stone, Patton, and Heen

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“Difficult Conversations” by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen is about the steps to take when dealing with difficult conversations. Difficult conversations can arise from any type of relationship whether is be in the workplace or with family. The fear of consequence is what leads to avoidance of difficult conversations and the goal is to reduce that fear. There are three stages in a difficult conversation, these stages include “The Problem”, “Shift to a Learning Stance” and “Create a Learning Conversation”. In order to discover “the problem”, it is important to recognize the structure of difficult conversations and what is said and not said. There are three types of conversations within a difficult conversation, “What…show more content…
Creating an environment where conversation could become a learning experience is about picking your battles. Do you have internal conflicts? Can the situation be dealt with in ways other than conversation? Have you planned out the conversation? These questions help you to fully think through the situation and think before speaking so that you can learn when a situation calls for a conversation and when one doesn’t. Once the decision to converse has been made, you examine the problem as a third party that picks no side. Next, explain that the purpose is to solve the problem, not find who is to blame or judge the other parties values. A key part in this process is to listen to each other’s stories. Act as if you are curious about the other’s story and values and beliefs, it will make it easier to work through a problem. The types of implications that can arise in any sort of relationship are all the same. Difficult conversations can cause issues in the workplace, world and anyone’s personal life. Blame and the unwillingness to be open to other views can be harmful and strain relationships. When the focus is on blame rather than contribution, it makes it difficult to solve any problem. An example of this is one used in the text. Stone, Patton, and Heen (1999) use the example of the dog that had gotten lose and ran away. Is the person who left the gate open or the person who was unable to grab the dog’s leash at fault? The goal is to retrieve the dog rather
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