chapter ONE

Reading the Room

Introduction and Framework

In the past decade, significant progress has been made in describing and finding good-to-great leaders and coaching them toward greater success, but both experts and high-placed leaders themselves still overlook this fundamental:

A leader falls short of greatness without great skill in face-to-face talk.

This is as true in the corporate world as it is in government, communities, and families. On some level, we “know” that effective talk in face-to-face relations and small group conversations lies at the heart of leading, but by and large, when we lead, we do not examine closely what dynamics are at work in a conversation, nor find ways to improve them.

The title of this book refers to a ...

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