August 9, 2022

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Sheila Heen of the Harvard Negotiation Project — How to Navigate Hard Conversations, the Subtle Art of Apologizing, and a Powerful 60-Day Challenge (#532)

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“The first negotiation is really a negotiation with yourself to move from being focused on what I’m right about and you’re wrong about to getting curious about why we see this so differently.”

— Sheila Heen

Sheila Heen is a New York Times best-selling creator, founding father of Triad Consulting Group, and a deputy director of the Harvard Negotiation Project at Harvard Law School, the place she has been a member of the school for 25 years. Sheila makes a speciality of notably troublesome negotiations, the place feelings run excessive and relationships turn into strained. She usually works with government groups, serving to them to resolve battle, restore skilled relationships, and make sound choices collectively. In the general public sector, she has supplied coaching for the New England Organ Bank, the Singapore Supreme Court, the Obama White House, and theologians battling disagreement over the character of reality and God.

Sheila is co-author of the New York Times bestsellers Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most and Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (even when it’s off base, unfair, poorly delivered, and, frankly, you’re not in the mood). She has written for the Harvard Business Review and the New York Times—as a visitor professional and contributor to the “Modern Love” column—and he or she has appeared on NPR, Fox News, CNBC’s Power Lunch, and reveals as various as Oprah and The G. Gordon Liddy Show. She has spoken on the Global Leadership Summit, the Nordic Business Forum, the Smithsonian, Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Sheila is a graduate of Occidental College and Harvard Law School. She is schooled in negotiation every day by her three youngsters.

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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

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What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to listen to one other episode with somebody who understands the worth of resisting the sufferer mindset? Listen to my dialog with Jim Dethmer, wherein we talk about dealing with demanding and disturbing ideas, avoiding drama-based battle in shut relationships, turning into emotionally literate, accepting radical accountability, cocommitment over codependence, and much more.


  • Connect with Sheila Heen:



  • Who was Roger Fisher? [06:35]
  • How did Sheila enter the scene with respect to negotiation and battle decision, and what did she love about it? [09:13]
  • Sheila shares the story in regards to the time she went to resume her passport in Los Angeles and the way it knowledgeable her contribution to Difficult Conversations. [11:28]
  • What are the three classes of inauspicious conversations, and what’s the underlying construction they’ve in frequent? [16:13]
  • How understanding the underlying construction of those three conversations helps you discover your manner if one doesn’t go as deliberate. [25:36]
  • How can we convey real curiosity in these conversations with out unintentionally coming off as condescending? What if this isn’t the primary time this dialog has occurred and it’s getting heated? [28:25]
  • Sometimes the individual with whom you’re conversing is simply seeing issues from a vastly completely different perspective. Sheila shares a private story. [38:13]
  • When a disconnect like this appears evident, how can every social gathering come to a greater understanding of the place the opposite is coming from? [41:45]
  • What is a press release towards curiosity, and the way can or not it’s used? [46:28]
  • A superb apology versus a nasty apology: what’s the distinction? [48:37]
  • Rewriting the scripts for dangerous apologies — notably when every social gathering has very completely different concepts about battle decision and resilience. [58:00]
  • What does it imply to “give voice to the parts?” [1:15:39]
  • What are first, second, and third place expertise, and what does it imply to step into the third place? [1:16:51]
  • The significance of setting expectations about — and studying over time — how the folks in your life behave (this consists of you). [1:21:22]
  • What would Sheila’s finest self say to her enterprise associate and co-author within the midst of collaborating on a ebook’s third version after a flare-up? [1:22:35]
  • In private {and professional} relationships, we frequently have suggestions for the opposite about how we expect they should change. But what if we current obstacles as shared issues? [1:28:09]
  • Blame-absorbers versus blame-shifters. [1:30:05]
  • Heroes, villains, and victims. [1:34:21]
  • Parting ideas. [1:43:08]
  • Additional post-game ideas from Sheila in regards to the query that performs like background music to many troublesome conversations, keep away from making each troublesome dialog a spring cleansing when your relationship merely wants some gentle spot-dusting, and a 60-day experiment. [1:46:27]


“Some people have trouble with some conversations, and the same conversation is easy for someone else. And it’s partly because of whatever the story is that you tell about yourself and who you are trying to be.” 
— Sheila Heen

“The first negotiation is really a negotiation with yourself to move from being focused on what I’m right about and you’re wrong about to getting curious about why we see this so differently.” 
— Sheila Heen

“Part of what I’m listening for in a difficult conversation is I’m just trying to understand what do you see and how do you interpret it? We each have implicit rules about how the world is supposed to work. Do we have different implicit rules here? Then it helps me to put those puzzle pieces on the table and try to fit them together, understanding that some of them just won’t fit. And that’s okay.” 
— Sheila Heen

“It’s not just that we have difficult conversations in our most important relationships; those conversations are the relationship. That if we find a way to have them productively or constructively, then the relationship will thrive, whether it’s a personal or professional relationship, and/or is where we start to disengage because you just don’t get it and you won’t listen, and the relationship starts to fray.” 
— Sheila Heen

“‘What am I missing?” is actually a great question, partly because they’re going to be so thrilled to have the ability to let you know. They’re going to take that invitation, however genuinely they’ll see issues which you could’t.”
— Sheila Heen


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