Fierce Conversations

We’ve all been there: Your partner exhibits a behavior that you find triggering and you avoid saying anything because you’re unsure how to confront her. It could be as simple as just something you’ve noticed and as much as you  know that things will be better once you two talk, you still drag your 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.” While not easy, Susan recommends three steps for succeeding with a fierce conversation:

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.



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.


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.

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