Difficult Conversations

Stone, D., & Patton, B. (1999). Difficult conversations: How to discuss what matters most. New York, N.Y.: Viking.

Everything problematic falls into one of these three “conversations”: the ‘What Happened?’ conversation, the ‘Feelings’ conversation, and the ‘Identity’ conversation. (7)

Talking about blame distracts us from exploring why things went wrong and how we might correct them going forward. (12)

Don’t choose between the stories, embrace both. That’s the And Stance. (39)

The problem is that when feelings are at the heart of what’s going on, they are the business at hand and ignoring them is nearly impossible. (87)

An easy reminder: say ‘I feel’ (105)

Four things you can o before and during a difficult conversation to help yourself maintain and regain your balance include: letting go of trying to control their reaction, preparing for their response, imaginging the future to gain perspective, and if you lose your balance, taking a break. (122)

A good rule to follow is: If you’re going to talk, talk. Really talk. [Y]ou can’t do it on the fly. (140)

Recognizing your entitlement can help you find your voice in a conversation and the courage to stand up for yourself when you feel frightened or powerless. (187)