Solving complex problems often involves engaging in difficult conversations. The most important steps to managing these difficult conversations effectively are inquiring, listening, and empathizing with those around you. Inquiring about other’s point of view, rather than advocating for your own, signals a genuine interest in understanding your counterpart. Active listening then allows you to focus on the other person and make them feel heard in the conversation. This feeling gets us to empathy, where we put ourselves in their shoes to understand exactly where they are coming from. The process of inquiring, listening, and empathizing helps to facilitate resolution in difficult conversations. In this BSC podcast, Salimah Samji interviews Professor Robert Wilkinson, Lecturer in Public Policy & Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. Rob shares his insights and guidance on managing difficult conversations effectively and provides examples from his work in development contexts.
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Find more information on the Harvard Project on Negotiation.