CHAPTER 3

Compartmentalize Your Message: The Neutral Zone

Compartmentalizing your message doesn't just focus on what you say. Instead, it involves taking the issue you want to deal with, unpacking and spreading it out in front of you, separating it into its safe and unsafe parts, and only then, creating a neutral opening that will get you into dialogue with the other person. You do it with a pencil and paper, and not with your emotions. It is a very different and very effective way of looking at a difficult conversation with someone. Let's break down the mechanics of how it works.

STEP 1: UNPACKING THE DIALOGUE

Let's take an example. You work in a machine shop, and everyone works hard and does their share—except for Slowpoke Smith off in the ...

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