Strategic communication is an exchange of information in situations of difference.
Difference can drive learning, innovation, and positive change. However, difference can also instigate misunderstanding, aggression and defensiveness, and even violent conflict.
Difficult conversations are a part of life. We encounter them at work and at home, in relationships old and new. We sometimes see them coming, and sometimes they ambush us. They can occur when we:
Are faced with strong emotions – our own or others’
Work across cultures or organizational boundaries
Give or receive feedback
Take opposing positions on issues of shared concern
Deliver bad news or unwelcome decisions
Work with competitors, adversaries, and those with whom we share a difficult history
Need or want something that others are reluctant to give
In short, whenever we navigate between differing and conflicting roles, frames of reference, desires, and positions, we are faced with communication challenges.
Irrespective of the issues and subject matter, difficult conversations too frequently lead to bad results.
CMPartners’ expertise in strategic communication draws on decades of professional experience and is supported by years of academic research and development at Harvard and elsewhere.
We also draw on the pioneering work of our colleagues Doug Stone and Sheila Heen, who along with Bruce Patton wrote the New York Times best-seller Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most.