It is fashionable to talk about having “difficult conversations” with your peers. Who wants a difficult conversation when you can have a productive conversation? The key to having a productive conversation is to follow a logical structure. The structure allows you as much creativity and flexibility as you want in what you say: it is not a script. And it takes from a few moments to a few years: it is quicker to persuade someone to have lunch with you than it is to persuade your firm to start a bank or a new business.

Social conversations can meander on. That is part of their pleasure. A persuasive conversation ...

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