I came across Susan Scott’s book on communication skills called Fierce Conversations several years ago while browsing in a bookstore. The title was catchy and the topic is so practical I knew it would be a valuable resource to own and it has. I continue to return to the wisdom shared in its pages. And, unless you have already saturated yourself in communications literature, I’m sure you will find this book most helpful. It’s an eye opener in many ways. Even though the primary focus is on achieving successful communications in the workplace, it is an excellent resource for developing conversational skills in all areas of life.
The standout phrase for me is, “The conversation is not about the relationship; the conversation is the relationship. ” A modern day proverb. Truth distilled. Silence isn’t golden if it ends a relationship, is it? This book helps us learn how to make our best effort to keep the conversation and the relationship going.
Susan Scott’s book is replete with nuggets of wisdom for anyone desiring to improve their communication skills and enhance their relationships. She says, “It’s time to take responsibility for how you make people feel.” Understand that, “There is no trivial comment. Something you don’t remember saying may have had a devastating impact on someone who looked to you for guidance and approval.” She gives pointers to help us master sharing information without devastating people emotionally. She says, “Learning to deliver the message without the load allows you to speak with clarity, conviction, and compassion.”
She shares 7 principles of fierce (robust, passionate, powerful, unbridled) conversations:
- Master the Courage to Interrogate Reality
- Come Out from Behind Yourself into the Conversation and Make It Real
- Be Here, Prepared to Be Nowhere Else
- Tackle Your Toughest Challenge Today
- Obey Your Instincts
- Take Responsibility for Your Emotional Wake
- Let Silence Do the Heavy Lifting
I don’t believe you can read this book and leave it unchanged. If you don’t want to let fear keep you from engaging in the most important conversations of your life, and you want to learn how to share what you think and how you feel about critical issues, and you also want to learn how to encourage others to get beyond their fears so they can share their heart with you, Fierce Conversations is for you.