The book, ‘Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most’ has been for me, an instructive and informative read.  In the book, I found several important concepts; however, the topics that we dealt with this week were particularly relevant to me mainly in learning to let go of things. I understood the importance of acknowledging our roles in problem situations, and suspending judgment before listening to other people’s viewpoints. This is because, it is important to accept the roles that we play when problems arise instead of relentlessly defending our positions. Essentially, the course was instructive in that, I realized that we can respond neutrally to conflicting ideas.

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Recently, as a result of insight gleaned from this course, I have gained a different perspective on various issues. I have been part of a variety of problem situations that I handled differently principally because of this newly-gained insight. I became aware that, other people’s opinions and values are valid and deserve to be taken into account when making a decision. According to Stone et al (1999), when individuals are given the opportunity to be themselves, then meaningful change becomes possible. This is in contrast to trying to persuade, convince or coerce them to be what they are not.

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As a result of the concepts learnt in this course, I came to the understanding that conversations, however difficult they appear to be, can be productive. This would be possible by suspending judgment, concisely putting forward our opinions and striving to find a solution that would be mutually beneficial to all parties involved.

This course will definitely improve my future conversations and experiences. I intend to apply the concepts, particularly the recommendation to be a neutral agent of change. I project that this will go a long way in enabling me to successfully have difficult conversations.

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