Dealing with your ex-husband, who can't seem to show up reliably for weekends with the kids; navigating a workplace fraught with office politics or racial tensions; saying "I'm sorry" or "I love you".

We all have difficult conversations, no matter how confident or competent we are. And too often, no matter what we try, things don't go well. Should you say what you're thinking and risk starting a fight? Swallow your views and feel like a doormat? Or should you let them have it? But--what if you're wrong?

Difficult Conversations shows you a way out of this dilemma; it teaches you how to handle even the toughest conversations more effectively and with less anxiety. Based on fifteen years of work at Harvard Negotiation Project and consultations with thousands of people, the authors answer the question: When people confront the conversations they dread the most, what works?

Difficult Conversations walks you through a proven, concrete, step-by-step approach for understanding and conducting tough conversations. It shows you how to get ready, how to start the conversations in ways that reduce defensiveness, and how to keep the conversation on a constructive track regardless of how the other person responds.

Whether you're dealing with your baby-sitter or biggest client, your boss or your brother-in-law, Difficult Conversations can help.


From the Compact Disc edition.
“Does this book deliver on its promise of an effective way through sticky situations, whether ‘with your babysitter or your biggest client’? It does.”
—The New York Times

“These talented communicators blend a daunting array of disciplines into highly readable and practical advice.”
—Booklist

“I’m on my third reading. Half the pages are dog-eared. This is a mind-bogglingly powerful book. For life.”
—Tom Peters

“A user-friendly guide to mastering the talks we dread . . . a keeper.”
—Fast Company 

“Emotional intelligence applied to life’s toughest moments.”
—Daniel Goleman, bestselling author of Working with Emotional Intelligence

“The only people who shouldn’t read Difficult Conversations are those who never work with people, anywhere.”
—Peter M. Senge, bestselling author of The Fifth Discipline

“How do you confront your ex-spouse who’s late picking up the kids? How do you tell a client their project took longer than expected and the bill is twice as high? How do you say ‘I’m sorry’? Start by picking up Difficult Conversations.”
—Citizen

Difficult Conversations will be appreciated by readers who wish to improve oral communication in all aspects of their daily lives.”
—Library Journal

“Stone, Patton, and Heen illustrate their points with anecdotes, scripted conversations and familiar examples in a clear, easy-to-browse format.”
—Publishers Weekly

“The central insights of Difficult Conversations so resonate with common sense that it is easy to overlook just how remarkable of a book it is . . . a must-read.”
—Harvard Negotiation Law Review

“Examples more clear-headed and advice more precise than we’ve seen before.”
—Dallas Morning News

“Stone, Patton, and Heen have written an extremely clear and unpretentious exposition of how to develop effective communication skills and a guide to achieving openness and constructive outcomes in dialogue . . . this book is, and probably for some time to come will be definitive.”
—Southern Communication Journal