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Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time [Paperback]

Susan Scott
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 6 2004

The Wall Street Journal bestseller, now with new material.

The master teacher of positive change through powerful communication, Susan Scott wants her readers to succeed. To do that, she explains, one must transform everyday conversations employing effective ways to get the message across. In this guide, which includes exercises and tools to take you step by step through the Seven Principles of Fierce Conversations, Scott teaches readers how to:

* Overcome barriers to meaningful communication
* Expand and enrich conversations with colleagues, friends, and family
* Increase clarity and improve understanding
* Handle strong emotions-on both sides of the table

Frequently Bought Together

Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time + Fierce Leadership: A Bold Alternative to the Worst "Best" Practices of Business Today + Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
Price For All Three: CDN$ 38.57

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Product Description

From Amazon

Susan Scott believes that interpersonal difficulties--at work and at home--are a direct result of our inability to communicate well. Fierce Conversations is based on principles from her international consulting practice, in which she teaches executives how to conduct such exchanges more dynamically and ultimately more effectively, thereby improving the relationships they enjoy with their various dialogue partners "one conversation at a time." Using identifiable anecdotes from her experience to inspire and inform, along with a series of practical exercises designed to impart the requisite skills, Scott walks readers through the individual steps she's developed to build better associations through more robust and honest discourses. Addressing all aspects of the process, from several methods for listening more attentively to specific ways she's fashioned to confront and resolve issues "that stand between you and success," Scott offers the type of concrete advice and confidence-building counsel that should help even the most reticent improve their communication skills dramatically. --Howard Rothman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

An offshoot of Scott's international consulting firm, Fierce Conversations Inc., this book lasts as long as a Monday morning shuttle. Yet its thesis, that relationships both professional and personal hinge on how conversations go, and that the best conversations require determinedly gentle honesty and a willingness to listen, lingers long enough to make an impact. "It takes a certain fearlessness to make your private thoughts public. But if what you're thinking makes you squirm and wish to wriggle away, you are probably onto something," she says. On the book's Web site, a streaming-video talk feels fake and rehearsed. But Scott's written words contain substance and, as an author, she's levelheaded and funny. She quotes a wide variety of writers, from Ernest Hemingway to Maya Angelou to Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and clearly explains her key concepts, including "obey your instincts" and "let silence do the heavy lifting." Careerist marketing ploy it may be, but this cleanly written, if cliche-laden, book boasts enough psychological sensitivity to merit success. Those whose conversations with co-workers or family members aren't producing the results they want will find plenty of helpful tools and assignments in this succinct guide.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What are you pretending not to know? July 17 2004
Most breakdowns in life have some connection to conversations -- conversations not had, conversations that go poorly, or conversations not yet even imagined. There are a number of good books on conversations and this is one of them.
I tend to refer my coaching clients to "Fierce Conversations" when they are having trouble getting motivated and avoid a lot of uncomfortable conversations (compared to recommending other books for those who botch difficult conversations).
Susan's section on "stump speeches" is good for gaining clarity on personal vision (i.e., where are you going, why, who is going with you, and how will you get there?).
Once clear on "where you are going," it's time to start noticing and speaking about what "you're pretending not to know" (otherwise known as breakdowns -- yours or others).
Although "Fierce Conversations" doesn't cover the underlying emotions like "Difficult Conversations" or "Nonviolent Communications" do, or the styles under stress (silence or violence) as "Crucial Conversations" does, it does have some good discussion on "interrogating reality" (with an emphasis on questions and remaining curious) and identifying your own role in conversational breakdowns.
Fierce, difficult, crucial, nonviolent -- whatever you call these conversations, they're at the core of all meaningful relationships. I can definitely recommend "Fierce Conversations" to the mix of books on skillful conversations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The power of truthful communication Feb. 13 2010
Note: The review that follows is of the Updated with New Material edition (2004). The "User's Guide" (Pages 267-287) has been added.

I read this book when it was first published in 2001 and then re-read it after reading Susan Scott's more recent book, Fierce Leadership. As she uses the term and explains in the first chapter of Fierce Conversations, "fierce" is synonymous with "robust, intense, strong, powerful, passionate, eager, unbridled, uncurbed, and untamed."

At work and in our personal lives, we engage in conversations (or at least have interactions) dozens of times each day. The challenge for us is two-fold: to always be truthful, and, to require others always to be truthful. Scott describes this as a shared, reciprocal "interrogation of reality" and suggests that it be guided and informed by seven principles. (She devotes a separate chapter to each.) As she correctly points out, most people prefer that others be completely truthful. In fact, that is a prerequisite for establishing and then sustaining trust. However, for various reasons, most people find it very difficult to be completely truthful. My own experience suggests that, more often than not, people are selectively truthful or evasive rather than dishonest. I am also convinced that, in face-to-face encounters, 75-80% of the impact is the result of body language and tone-of-voice, with only 20-25% the result of what is actually said. As Scott correctly suggests, it requires courage to develop and then strengthen a "fierce" mindset, one with strict accountability to ensure that whatever (and however) one communicates, the "message" (whether initiated or responsive) is honest. It must also be sufficient as well as relevant, given the situation.
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I have seen this great book unfolding over the years as I have learned from her training sessions and listened to Susan Scott and seen her fierce determination to communicate about the "the art of communication". So much of our interaction and communication over the years is rendered ineffective because we use the wrong words, avoid conflict, or have the "put off to later" attitude. Susan has captured the answers to clear communication in a way that makes it possible for all of us to be great communicators. The exercises are extremely helpful and the step by step approach helps to make more concrete the skill sets. Her examples enliven and enrich the concepts and make them real. There have been many books written on communication. This one captures at the deepest and yet most basic level the simple rules to make "all" conversations effective both in business and in our personal lives. Ultimately we all have the same objectives: to improve relationships, to listen better, to communicate more effectively, and to be understood. Thank you, Susan, for giving us the very best way to get there "one conversation at a time!"
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4.0 out of 5 stars a practical, real world tool Dec 27 2002
Susan Scott was a corporate coach who realized that people are hungry for authentic communications. She takes the concept of authenticity and mixes it in with good leadership practice to produce a book that is filled with practical advice in one's professional and personal conversations.
I am generally put off by simple "formula" approaches to dealing with tough issues, but Scott mixes the importance of reflection and courage along with a simple structure. As a corporate consultant who was using this book as a resource, I was prepared to write it off as too "pop" or simplistic, and instead found solid reference to the importance of showing onesself, understanding the value in recognizing that each party to a conversation brings their own set of "truths," and grounding our conversations in a solid understanding of who we are and where we want to go. Furthermore, she makes a point of using listening as a key strategy for leaders -- one that is often talked about, but rarely reinforced as ably as it is here.
Some of Scott's examples are stilted and overly simplistic,she holds herself up as a model of perfection a little too often, and she ocassionally lapses into self-help verbiage that is annoying, and a distraction from a solid product. Nevertheless, for those of us who need to persuade others about the importance of authentic one-on-one communication, or for those of us who forget the magic of intense one-on-one communication with those we care about, this is worth reading and acting upon.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you
Published 1 month ago by Stephan Kuester
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
An easy read with so much to think about and learn. I look forward to putting the skills to use in my life.
Published 6 months ago by Bonnie Hebert
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I have ever applied
This content is invaluable to any leader. It has changed my work life and it has been a game changer in some of my relationships at work. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Mary Lou Renaerts
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of great tactics
I definitely recommend this book for anyone who manages others. It gives you lots of great tactics to help improve your coaching skills and helps you to think about people... Read more
Published on April 22 2011 by Scott
4.0 out of 5 stars Get to the Point of the Matter
Susan Scott's approach provide the reader with a clear, strategic methods in which to approach all conversations in particular the more difficult and/or important ones. Read more
Published on March 11 2010 by D. Levandier
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed With Knowledge!
This book offers numerous useful principles that will help anyone become a better conversationalist and a more responsive listener. Read more
Published on June 3 2004 by Rolf Dobelli
1.0 out of 5 stars Not as Helpful as "Difficult Conversations."
I listened to both this and "Difficult Conversations." I found that "Diffiicult Conversations" offered much more helpful, concrete advice, and the material was... Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a Lightweight Book
Okay, I didn't buy this from, a friend gave me my copy. But if you're reading in this venue, this is a great book. Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2004 by L. Cary
1.0 out of 5 stars She's No Stone Patton Heen - Get "Difficult Conversations"
This lady is no Stone Patton Heen. She has not done the work they have, nor put in the years of patient effort, research, testing and analysis that they have. Read more
Published on July 1 2003 by Mike Finn
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Useful Book on Interpersonal Communication
This book is a must-read for anyone who would like to improve the way that they communicate at work and at home. Read more
Published on May 8 2003
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