Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
There’s nothing more relaxing in the Fall then wrapping up in cozy blanket by a warm fire and reading a good book. I’ll be honest, because I have been studying communication now for about 27 years, I really don’t “enjoy” reading books about it. This isn’t to say I don’t still have a lot to learn. I just mean a book on communication isn’t one I would choose with my blanket and fire time. However, recently I attended a conference and heard Sheila Heen speak. She is an amazing communicator and puts things in such a logical format. I had to get her updated book Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. Sheila shares authorship of this book with Douglas Stone and Bruce Patton of The Harvard Negotiation Project.)
This book can be helpful for any relationship from marriages to the highest level of the cooperate world. It reminds us how important it is to not go into conversations with the stance of proving what you say is correct. Instead, it offers us the suggestion of having a “learning stance”. This gives us the perspective of learning what the other person is trying to say or convey rather than just trying to get our point across. The book reminds us to notice what is going on with us when we are communicating, and to try to understand the other person’s story. They give great examples that show how a conversation can deescalate quickly when people are unarmed by a different approach.
Sometimes it can feel like we are living in a world where everyone is talking, no one is listening, and everyone feels they are right. This book challenges us to listen and helps us communicate so we can be heard. It also helps us see how sometimes we are both right, if we can see each other’s perspective and have empathy for one another.
I hope you enjoy this book. Not only that, if you’re struggling with communication in any relationship that is important to you, I hope the principles in this book can change how you begin to communicate.
If you’re interested in hearing an interview with Sheila Heen, follow this link.
Thank you all for reading and have a wonderful week!
Written by Natalie Chandler
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. Her areas of expertise include infidelity recovery, faith-based counseling, anxiety and depression, as well as addictions counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.