Follow-up Post: The Three Conversations

Recently I posted a review of the book “Difficult Conversations” by Stone, Patton, and Heen.  Essentially the book boils down to the 3 conversations, and what they mean. The first conversation is the “What Happened” conversation. In this one, it is important to disentangle what the authors call “impact from intention.” For example, if someone said something to hurt my feelings, the impact of being hurt is clear, but the intention may not have been to hurt me at all. The second conversation the authors call the “Feelings” conversation.  In this one it is important, no essential, not to hide your feelings, and to begin with statements like “I feel..” The third and final conversation they call the “Identity” conversation.  Supposing I ask my boss for a raise, and he says no.  Then I might question my identity as a good worker, I might have, what the authors call, an “identity quake.”


Above all, it is important that all conversations be “learning” conversations, where neither party feels ignored or left out.  In this way the result is a “win-win” for both parties.  Or at least, you can “agree to disagree.”

Finally I leave you with a link to their website.  Just click on the “Help Yourself” tab to get helpful worksheets or translations of the book in other languages.

All in all a useful and timely book.  Stay tuned for my next posting on the book: “10 000 Joys, 10 000 Sorrows” about a caregiver’s journey with Alzheimer’s.

Happy reading!


Calm Pond


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