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What Podcasts Can Teach Us about Difficult Conversations

Can podcasts teach us how to have better difficult conversations?

Recently, I was a guest on Dr. Darian Parker’s podcast, as part of pre-publicity for my forthcoming memoir, and it turned out to be a magically flowing and amazing conversation about conflict, education, my memoir, and life. Listening to it afterwards, I was struck by how we unintentionally modeled practices for having effective difficult conversations.

What did we do that could benefit people who find themselves in a difficult conversation?

  1. Be open and present

We didn’t follow a script. Neither of us knew exactly where the conversation would take us, but we were willing to follow the energy rather than attempt to control the direction of the conversation.

  1. Ask curious, open ended questions and follow up questions and comments

Darian asked me excellent, thoughtful questions and followed up with comments and additional questions that helped us explore the topics.

  1. Listen deeply

I really listened to Darian’s questions and the intention behind them, and he really listened to my answers.

  1. Be honest and vulnerable

Even though we hadn’t met before, I was willing to be candid about mistakes I had made in my life’s journey, and what I hadn’t understood about myself and my responses that I know now. And Darian reciprocated with his own stories from his life and careers.

  1. Be kind

We trusted each other’s good intentions and our shared commitment to having an illuminating conversation. Neither one of us was trying to “one up” or “put down” the other. We co-created something beautiful, that neither of us could have done alone.

Of course, it isn’t always easy to follow these guidelines if you’ve been embroiled in a conflict with someone. Like many of us, you might feel guarded and suspicious, focusing on what you’re going to say next to defend yourself and your positions rather than truly listening to what the other person says. But if you can set that aside even temporarily and follow the guidelines above, you will maximize your chances of having a good conversation that can build understanding and compassion.

Here is the link if you’d like to experience our conversation: Dr. D’s Social Network Podcast    And if you’d like to sign up for my Bookie Chronicles newsletter and find out about future podcasts and the book launch, you can sign up here. .


Lorraine Segal

After surviving the 50's and 60's, as well as twenty years in toxic academia as a tenured professor, Lorraine Segal was inspired to started her own business, Conflict Remedy (, happily teaching, coaching, blogging and consulting around workplace conflict transformation. She is addicted to reading novels and enjoys walking and… MORE

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