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 Summaries World About this Book:   As the title suggests, this book Summary will teach you how to have a difficult conversation. You will n...

Difficult conversations - Book Summary - Bruce Patton - Sheila Heen - Douglas Stone

About this Book: 

As the title suggests, this book Summary will teach you how to have a difficult conversation. You will not be bothered to face such things now. You will be able to say the most difficult things in your life easily. With the help of this book, you will understand what to say and when to say it.

Who should read this summary?
• People who want to improve the way they talk.
• Orator / speaker

About author:

Howard Law School lecturer Douglas Stone is a partner of Triad Consulting Group. They are currently guiding the conversation between 'Trauma' and 'Apology'. Bruce Patton, deputy director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, is a partner of CMI / Vantage Partners LCC. He has also written "Getting to Yes". Sheila Heen is a lecturer at Howard Law School and teaches about negotiation there. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and son.

Difficult conversations - Book Summary - Bruce Patton - Sheila Heen - Douglas Stone

Now we Start Summary:


Do you feel that you need to work a little harder on your relationships? Do you feel that you are always arguing with people and not being able to speak their mind, as if any habit? Do you feel that you are not listened to? If yes, then this book is the answer to all your troubles. This book will teach you how to engage in conversation and what to avoid and what you need to pay more attention to.
In this book, you will learn about all the skills needed to negotiate, which can strengthen your relationships and protect you from any kind of disengagement. These can range from personal relationships to formal relationships, whether it is your boss, your children, your friend, or your life partner.
In this book, you will understand the importance of locating information, avoiding any behavior about your own self and not blaming others. You will learn to see the third side of things. Along with becoming a good listener, you will also learn to present yourself in front of people. Here you will learn about such things that others know but probably not you and understand the importance of your desire to know their different opinions.

You will be able to solve the problems and you will be able to have a difficult conversation. What needs to be understood more carefully and what needs to be left out, this book can give you the answers to these questions.

Settle the conversation:

The difference between 'what you want to say' and 'what you say' makes the conversation difficult. Every person has difficulty in talking at some time in his life. Conversations are of three types: 1) Conversations related to what happened 2) Conversations related to what you are feeling means 'Negotiations of emotions' 3) Negotiations of identity means 'Identity conversations'.
Due to any disagreement in the first type of conversation, you can create a doubt in your mind. In the second type of conversation, your feelings are talked about. You start to think about whether your feelings are right or not. You start thinking that you should understand them or not pay attention to them. The third type of conversation, ie identity conversation, is that in which you talk to yourself. Here, you understand how important it is for you by thinking about a situation. These three types of conversations can be quite challenging, and you should know how to handle them.
Let's take an example to understand these three types of interactions.
This is the story of a difficult conversation between two friends, Jack and Michael. One day, Michael calls Jack to ask for help. Michael quickly needed to produce a financial brochure as his designer left the job. Jack left all his work to help Michael and worked late into the night to prepare a brochure the next day. Michael approved the design and asked Jack to print it. Jack finished that job by noon. Jack was tired of working late that night for Michael.
As Jack went back to his office, he saw a voicemail sent by Michael stating that the brochure did not have a clearing chart of earnings and that he needed to do it again. Jack calls Michael at the same time and they talk that Michael had approved it earlier. While talking, Jack had an identity conversation with himself that he had canceled a dinner date with his wife to help Michael and Michael didn't even say thank you. Jack was also angry at himself for making mistakes like these fools. He didn't say it all out loud,
He was saying all this to himself in his mind, and this is an example of 'identity conversation'. He was also having such feelings that Michael saw him as a proofreader and not as a friend. For a moment he also wanted to fight Michael but he did not do so. It was his feelings, and it is a conversation of emotions. What Michael and Jack did not agree on was the question of 'Does the chart need more work?' Or 'Who should have understood the mistake earlier?' This is an example of a 'conversation on what happened' is .

We make a mistake in handling these three types of conversations. You should always come to understand your point of view about something. Try to understand and understand the feelings and do your work cleanly.

Stop fighting over who is right: Try to know each other's story

• Many times we do not agree with the opinion of the people. Instead of believing that there can be another side of the story, we understand those people as the problem and they also think something similar. Everyone has their own experiences and opinions about a single story, and others may have very different opinions about the same thing, they are all right. The way a person looks at the environment around him, tries to understand it and comes to a conclave by understanding it. It can also be different from another person who thinks about the same, which is why they are quarrelsome.
Randy and Adaniel work together in an assembly line. Randy is white and Daniel is Korean - American. Randy believes that his company
People who attend minorities are not treated like strangers and have a very good record of giving jobs to people of different castes. He has two people on his team, African-American and also a Latino who is the head of the union. His supervisor is also a Filipino and he has seen many times promotion of people of different colors i.e. black. On the other hand, Daniel has got a different experience and opinion on the discrimination of different castes at his place of work. They have faced a variety of strange questions to prove their ability, and they have had to fall prey to the things done about their caste from the people working together. He noticed that the top officers of the company are mostly white colored and there is no special attention given to the promotion of black people.
Both parts of his story do not have complete information according to the need. While Randy and Daniel have evidence to justify their opinion, that evidence is not enough and a different view is needed. Many times we draw the results according to our own meaning. As in the story, we hold the opinion that we think is most beneficial for us.
Randy feels that the company does not discriminate against other races because he is white and it usually supports his point because they have not faced it themselves. Daniel trusts exactly the opposite because, he has always endured discrimination and has always seen that the company discriminates against others and supports the opinion made about discrimination on the basis of caste.
Therefore, it is advised that instead of just accepting your own opinion, there should be a desire to know the opinion of other people. Only after knowing all parts of the matter should one take a role. By the way, it is not necessary that everyone's views will be correct. It is important to learn how to handle any matter in your hands and then decide whose views are better or right.

Don't follow the ment it: disentagle brick from impact.
Considering assume they meant it: Disentangle intent from impact

Main Idea:

Sometimes some conversations can cause injury or embarrassment to someone, but it is not necessary that affect and intention match or are similar to each other. It is very likely that people guess the intentions of someone with the effect of something on them. This is hardly true, and on the basis of considering that we understand that the intention of the person is bad. We reverse exactly this with ourselves. We believe that our intentions are the best. It is also important to know that intentions are not just 'good' or 'bad', they are also a mixture of both good and bad.


Both Laurie and Leo have been with each other for two years. They were both at a party. When Laurie was going to get ice cream again, Leo asked her not to eat any more ice cream. Later in the evening, they renegotiate the matter, and Laurie tells Leo that she doesn't like the way Laurie treats him at the party. Laurie tells Leo that she has no need to behave like a father nor to tell him what she can and cannot do. Keeping Laurie under control was nothing short of a struggle for Laurie, and no one liked it when she interrupted him.
Leo told her that he was only helping her to stick to her diet plan. Laurie still feels that she felt embarrassed in front of people because of it. Leo further explains to Laurie that if she does not stop Laurie from overeating, she comes and complains to Leo on her own, and on her own will she argues on small matters.
Laurie was horribly offended by what Leo told Laurie. His effect was that Laurie automatically assumed that Leo's intentions were wrong, even if this was not true. Leo realizes that instead of realizing that Laurie is straggling with her diet plan and therefore defending herself, Leo assumes that she does so intentionally to quarrel. The way Laurie talks to him, he feels that his motives were wrong. It is human nature to defend oneself. It is important that we should understand how others feel and why they said what they said and their intentions were wrong, so they must have said so, do not let this idea dominate your mind.
Here, even though the other's words hurt both, they do not try to understand the situation by taking into consideration the feelings of the other person. Their own feelings force them to measure the intentions of others. It is also important to consider one's intentions and see if their intentions were completely clear.

Keep emotions under control or they will keep you under control. / Have your feelings or they will have you

Main Idea:

It is of course necessary to state your feelings in order to keep the relationship right and happy. It is not just about positive emotions but also some negative feelings like jealousy, embarrassment, anger, disappointment. Equally important is handling them.
Untold emotions somehow find a way to communicate using our body language, tone or gesture. Untold emotions can also make us fail to listen to others. Instead of paying attention to what he is saying, we just keep thinking about the feelings buried in our mind and pay attention to them. It is not necessary to just tell what we are feeling, but when speaking, we should talk with sympathy and love. It is also important that we have to understand our feelings first and know why we are doing what we feel, only then we should tell our feelings.


Kathy is Emma's friend as well as her mentor. Emma learns that Kathy told the executive team that Emma is not qualified and responsible for the promotion. Emma feels that Kathy has broken her trust, her heart is hurt and she becomes angry with him. Emma starts to doubt her ability and starts to question herself whether she really deserves a promotion or not. Later, there is a conversation between the two on what happened.
Emma tells Kathy what she had heard before. Kathy says that she did not say that Emma should not be promoted, but rather that Emma is being promoted very quickly. Emma tells Kathy that if there was such a thing, Kathy should have come and talked to him earlier because she is his friend. She tells Kathy that she feels that Kathy has tried to harm her career. Kathy refuses to believe that she has always supported Emma and does not think that Emma will never be promoted, all she wants is for Emma to be promoted at the right time. She does not speak her heart clearly.

Emma does not tell Kathy that she has felt bad about what Kathy said or that what has happened has caused many questions about herself. Because of not being able to put our emotions in front of others, we start looking at the expressions rather than talking and start making misconceptions related to it and make decisions on its basis. In order for the second person to understand you, it is important that you keep your words calmly and politely in front of him.
If Emma had told Kathy that she felt that Kathy had broken her trust, then it was possible that Kathy would have understood her better and that she would have talked to Emma accordingly. Due to not being able to express her feelings, Ema could not understand her even after listening to all of Kathy. That is why it is very important to understand your feelings and learn how to put them in front of others in order to have a healthy and close relationship.

What do you intend When to pick her up and when to let her go

Main Idea:

We are often confused about whether we should put anything forward and face it or not. There is no line to distinguish between what to talk and what not. No one knows in advance how the issues will change by raising issues. In this way, people take decisions according to their estimate and decide which things should be raised and which are not. We should think 'what we know and what not' before taking any matter or leaving it, by understanding our feelings, what we are getting and our experiences, and using them to take decisions. needed. We should give up some negative feelings for our peace. It is also important to know that we cannot change people.


A man shot David's brother. Along with being angry at the person who killed him, he was also angry with his brother for going to the place where the accident took place. David did not attend the trial. There were various thoughts and feelings running in his mind. He felt that injustice had been done to his brother. His brother left him and because of this he was angry with his brother. He also felt sad that he had lost his brother. In his mind, he was having a conversation with his brother and then he said all this. Eventually, he let go of the anger he had for both of them in his heart.
Letting go did not mean forgetting the love he had for his brother or the pain he felt as he left, rather, letting it go meant that he had now accepted it. That what has happened cannot change it. He let go of the negative feelings that were disturbing his peace of mind. He again interacted with his brother in his mind, but this time he was not angry or tough.
He now feels a sense of loss, but not any anger or injustice. Earlier David could not decide whether it was right to raise this issue. Due to the decision he had taken earlier, he had put his own peace at stake and it became more difficult for him when he remembered his brother and talked to him heart to heart. That is why, later, he made the right decision to let these things go.
Letting go does not mean that the love he has for his brother in his heart was to be let go. His love remains and he still misses her. But he decided to let go of the feelings that had a negative effect on him. David understood how much control he had over the situation and how he could not bring his brother back. They understood their feelings, worked on it, and then decided what things to pick up and what feelings to let go.

Learning: Lissan from the Inside Out

Main Idea:

Listening is a specialty and most people feel that they are good at it. Because of listening, the conversation can change and can also be wrong. When we try to understand and listen to what the person in front is trying to say, then for some reason, that person does the same. It is advisable to sit with the patient while listening and then check what has been said or not once you have heard.
It is also necessary to suppress the questions which are arising inside your mind, it is not easy to do so. If you feel that it is very important to listen to the thoughts going on in your mind or the thoughts that are forming in your mind, then you should put it in a very calm and humble manner in front of the person in front. We should ask for more information and always desire to know more. We have really heard what has been said, this thing should be shown, it is also advised. By doing this, they are able to trust you.

story :

This is a small story that tells us how we often misunderstand other people's thoughts and make sudden decisions according to what we are thinking in our mind.
Audrey's six-year-old daughter, Josie, woke her mother from sleep in the middle of the night. She was scared because she saw a movie in which a dog's mother leaves her puppy. Audrey thinks that Josie is scared because she thinks she too will be left that way, so she tells Josie that she will never do this with her daughter. But in reality, Josie was upset about her pet turtle. She thought that her pet turtle would also be someone's mother and her baby would have been abandoned. Here, Audrey makes the mistake of not listening to her daughter.
She admits that she already knows what is going on in her daughter's mind and tries to confront her accordingly. People older in age mostly make this mistake. It is true that people think that he already knows what the other person is thinking. No matter how clean and easy the solution to any problem is, it is important that we listen to the voice of the person in front in peace. The thoughts of Audrey's mind prevailed over her ability to listen to her baby girl. She was not keen to go on about her daughter's thoughts and her fears. Without listening to her daughter, she decided with her own mind what she was going to tell her to make her daughter feel good. If Audrey had the slightest interest in listening to her daughter and thought it necessary to ask her daughter, she would never make a hasty decision.
To be adopted is the need of every human being. Everyone wants to be listened to and validated. 'Listening well to what someone has said' is an art that everyone should have.

Expression: Spike for Yourself with Clarity and Power/
Speak your point out in a clear and powerful way

Main Idea:

It is as important to listen to others as it is to listen to others. It is not necessary that someone should be a 'very good' or 'very funny' speaker, it is important that we are able to tell clearly what we are feeling and give an explanation about it. We should not consider ourselves less than others. It is equally important to understand that our thoughts, opinions and feelings are equally valuable.
Without worrying about whether our words are worthless or they have no value, we should say the words of our heart in a clear manner. We do not need to say our thoughts as just facts. It is important that we keep them in such a form, because of which they should be open to be connected to different ideas and we should also be open to validating different ideas. It is also important to tell how you have reached your conclusion. And when we listen, we should say their words again so that they feel that we understand them. We should also reiterate what we have said to others so that we know whether they have understood our point or not.


Charlie and Gage are both brothers who have grown up from each other over the years. Gauge is dyslexic and due to dyslexic, he has been facing difficulties in saying and reading words for many years. Charlie wants to help his younger brother, but everything he says becomes useless. Charlie uses his experience to guide his brother and help him and asks him to join the debate team, but Gage feels he is being judged due to his own insecurities. All his brothers graduated from high school and received scholarships.
Charlie later reveals his heart's feelings to Gage and says that he believes Gage works too hard and apologizes to Gage for not doing what he should have treated him as a child. This changed their relationship. Gage needed to be constantly told that his hard work was unapproved, but when Charlie tried to guide Gage, Gage felt that he was incapable of doing things himself. Charlie not only improved their relationships by revealing his feelings, but also helped Gage to raise self-confidence.
It was not necessary that Charlie use very good words to make his brother feel good, or to talk smooth or chubby or use very good words. He just needed to express his feelings and make Gage realize that he is accepted as he is. He made good his relationship with his brother by telling all his heart feelings to his brother. This shows that it is not only necessary to listen to the other person, but it is also necessary to speak your mind with an open heart and not suppress your true feelings.

Problem Solving: Take the lead /
Problem Solving: Lead

Main Idea:

Reframing helps us to take the lead in conversation. To re-say what a person has said to explain his point, it is called 'reframing'. This helps us to make him feel that the words of that person are valid. Along with this, we should listen to their words and understand the meaning of their words in our language and decide how this will lead to further dialogue.
Both of these tricks lead to conversations after which troubles can be resolved. There is a need to compromise or compromise on both sides and it is equally important for both to agree on the same thing. Advice should be sought and time should not be a hassle to solve problems. Things should be allowed to happen slowly.


To understand the idea behind 'taking the lead', here is a story.
Harpreet and Monisha are different opinions and this can be seen in the conversation between the two. Harpreet asks Monisha what she thinks when he tells her that he loves her.
She says that she feels compelled to say "she loves him too" due to which she is unable to say this. She tells him that he knows she loves him. Harpreet does not believe this and asks him how he is sure that he knows. She tells him that she is with him because she loves him. But this was not so important for Harpreet as he had seen his parents' marriage, and they did not love each other, yet they lived with each other.
Monisha has had a different experience as she has seen her parents express love all the time. Because of this, he was ashamed. He feels that love can be shown not only through talk but also through our action. She tells him that he has pity for her and Monisha's coming to him when her mother's health worsens shows how much she loves him. Even after having different views, they have a very good conversation. Both of them listened to each other very well. Harpreet showed great eagerness to listen to Monisha. Fights can be avoided by doing so. He understood Monisha's point well and gave the conversation the right path.


In this book, you learned, "how to resolve conversations and how to deal with them".
You learned that "how to tell" those things you are feeling, and "when not to say those things".
You learned this, "need to listen", "need to talk" and "need to decide when to talk".
Always try to believe that the other person is not fully aware of the ways of interacting and in this way you show the right path to the conversation.
You have also learned how important it is to make others feel that their words have been heard and their beliefs have been accepted.
Always listen to other humans, do not make any decision without listening to them.
You have learned why it is so important to tell others what has been understood.
You have understood that your own opinion should not be undermined or misunderstood and you should trust what you feel is right.
In this book, you have learned how to calmly negotiate difficult and avoidable conversations and how to avoid petty arguments.
You have learned to control your thoughts. You also learned how you changed those ideas in such a way that it would make you trustworthy in the eyes of the person in front.
Do not be afraid if you get the right direction to go in the right way. Always remember that listen to the problem first, then decide and then solve it. To improve your relationships, trust yourself and understand others and then see how everything else goes well on its own.

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