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We have all done it at some point; avoid addressing an issue due to the human dynamics involved. These confrontations could be with an employee, a partner, or a family member in the business. Even though we know that things will be better once we talk things through with the individual, we still drag our feet.


Maybe it’s time for a Fierce Conversation.

Susan Scott, author of the book Fierce Conversations, tells us that,”..people want to hear the truth, even if it is unpalatable. There is something within us that responds deeply to people who level with us…”

Susan offers 3 steps for succeeding with this type of conversation:



Make a clear, concise opening statement. Name the issue; give examples; describe your emotions; clarify what’s at stake; identify your own contribution to the problem; indicate clearly your wish to resolve the issue; invite the other person to respond.


Inquire into the other person’s view. Really try to understand their perspective, but don’t be satisfied with defensiveness or surface explanations. Ask for more, saying “I see things quite differently.”


Come to a resolution. What have we learned? Where are we now? Make an agreement and determine how you will hold each other accountable.

Some keys to a fierce conversation are to get everything out in the open and find a way to say things that are difficult to say, such as sharing your thoughts without labeling them as truth and without judging the other person’s opinions.

Be in the moment, really listening. Don’t be afraid of silence; ask the question that expands possibilities, then wait. You’ll learn more if you surrender to the silence and open your ears to resolution.

Want to know more about having fierce conversations? Check out our resources below:

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