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We attempt or avoid difficult conversations every day-whether dealing with an underperforming employee, disagreeing with a spouse, or negotiating with a client. From the Harvard Negotiation Project, the organization that brought you Getting to Yes, Difficult Conversations provides a step-by-step approach to having those tough conversations with less stress and more success. you'll learn how to:

• Decipher the underlying structure of every difficult conversation
• Start a conversation without defensiveness
• Listen for the meaning of what is not said
• Stay balanced in the face of attacks and accusations
• Move from emotion to productive problem solving

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 10 Anv Upd edition (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143118447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143118442
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces

Customer Reviews

Help using my anger more productively and peacefully!

 on July 17, 2016
For several years I’ve been working in psychotherapy to actually feel my anger – and use it productively so that people don’t walk all over me. I used to be such a people-pleaser, i didn’t even know when I was angry… and then I would unknowingly turn all my anger on myself – in the form of depression and self-criticism. It can still take awhile for me to realize when I don’t like something and am annoyed or frustrated. And when I get angry, I can still become very anxious so it’s tempting to vent, thinking I’m so entitled and right. But venting always turns out bad. Now I’m committed to becoming aware when I don’t like something – sooner and sooner – and setting boundary or at least expressing what I don’t like. Enter this book. It is helping me do all the is MUCH more gracefully. At first I just wanted to set a boundary. Sometimes it came out harsh. Now I understand the importance of staying calm, compassionate and connected with the other person when expressing my likes and dislikes as well as when negotiating and compromising – and staying friends during the whole process! I’m still learning. And reading the book. I’m not depressed anymore. Really. It’s really great.

Should be a part of high school curriculum

 on June 13, 2017
By Avery Ford
As part of self improvement for communication skills I was encouraged by my manager to read this book. At first, I was hesitant because I had just read another (worth reading) book along a similar subject “Crucial Conversations” and because I didn’t believe I had another 272 pages left to learn about conversations. I wasn’t into this book a full chapter before I understood this book was going to be worth reading.

Excellent book!

 on September 6, 2017
By Denise MaGee
By far one of the best books I’ve read about communications no matter what type of difficult conversation you’re having. It breaks down the conversation, especially what’s not explicitly expressed and then gives you ways to communicate going forward. There are plenty of examples and ideas how to communicate what feels vulnerable, but ultimately leads to better understanding overall.

Excellent Audiobook!

 on March 7, 2018
By Mindy G
This audiobook is really good, it is read by the 3 authors, and they role play a lot of different types of conversations which is very helpful as opposed to just reading the book in your head with the one narrative voice you have. Plus if you have specific difficult conversations that you need to have in mind when listening to the examples you can pull the overall meaning of what they are getting at and apply it to your situation. Of course the examples that are super close to the conversations that you need to have are the best to listen role played out. 🙂

Don’t Suffer in Silence to Avoid Confrontation

 on April 20, 2009
By Carol C.
Do you find yourself stewing silently, letting anger and resentment build, because you’re avoiding the discomfort of a difficult conversation? Do you have that one relative or colleague with whom every effort to communicate results in disaster? Before you give up, give this book a try. It provides very specific guidance on how to initiate and the most challenging of conversations and steer them away from disaster.

One of the best books I have read to date

 on October 2, 2014
By Ivan T
This is by far one of my favorite books. This truly helps you understand the fact that not all conversations have one statement but instead have many. It will have you looking at how people communicate with you and how you communicate with others. It will have you sometimes over analyzing words and sentences and the use of emotional terms in a conversation. Such a great and easy read, this is a book I recommend for anyone. You will be surprised how easy it is to get the jist of proper and forward conversation.

Solid advice

 on September 18, 2016
By Felizabeth
I wouldn’t think of this as a self-help book, but instead a must-read for anyone involved in business, management, or finding themselves misunderstood/misrepresented in their daily life. I wasn’t sure what to expect, knowing that it was authored by some heavy hitters, but the book was easy to read, digest, and apply to situations. The framework reminds you to consider what’s true vs. what’s important to those you interact with, and to clearly state your interpretations while listening for others.

Much needed read right now!

 on August 17, 2017
By Jessica Pettitt
This piece of word is so desperately needed then and now. It informed my own writing where I then add the importance of responsibility to who and how we are in the world. Having Conversations That Matter starts with Difficult Conversations. This is how to be Good Enough Now.

I can’t say enough how much I love this book–EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS

 on August 22, 2017
By Mandy H.
I can’t say enough how much I love this book–EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS!! It’s many years of counseling wrapped up in one book! Also, it’s not just for “difficult conversations,” but a great guide on how to talk to people in general. I have re-thought how to approach ANY conversation I have with family, friends, co-workers, and even my young kids!