CHAPTER 1

Why We Stink at Difficult Conversations—And How We Can Change

“I keep talking to him about his behavior, but he never changes.”

Does this line sound familiar? I would say that it is nearly universal. We all go around with the best of intentions trying to get other people to listen to us, and usually fall flat on our faces.

Of course, we understand perfectly why other people don't succeed in getting people to change. Like the woman who feels she is a “perfect mother” but in reality is always criticizing her children. Or the toxic boss who rules by fear and intimidation. Or the coach who claims to have “high standards” for people when he is really just screaming at them and demoralizing them. These people clearly do not communicate well. ...

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