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“The goal of the conversation is not to convince. It’s not to compel, and it’s not to control. It’s not to try to get the other person to think something different. As soon as we believe somebody is trying to control us in that kind of way, we resist. So the very effort to convince, it makes you less convincing.” – Joseph Grenny

Contrary to how many people feel in our world today, it is possible to tell the truth and avoid alienating a friend or colleague or engendering terrible and painful conflict. With so much distrust among family, friends, colleagues and our leaders, it’s vital to not to take the two standard approaches – being silent or violent — on core issues but instead, we need to learn the essential skills behind expressing yourself candidly yet cordially. 

Today’s Finding Brave expert guest reveals how it’s not having different opinions that’s the problem in our conflicts, rather it’s how and why we express those opinions, and the approach we take before even entering the conversation. 

Joseph Grenny is a four-time New York Times bestselling author, dynamic keynote speaker, and leading social scientist for business performance. Joseph has spoken at some of the world’s premier leadership conferences. His books have been translated into 28 languages, are available in 36 countries, and have generated results for 300 of the Fortune 500.

I had the honor of interviewing Joseph and David Maxfield in my Forbes blog in 2015 in a piece on Gender Bias Is Real: Women’s Perceived Competency Drops Significantly When Judged as Being Forceful, on their groundbreaking research on gender bias, and I’ve often quoted the information that their research uncovered that proved gender bias is not imagined, it’s real – and their research showed on how women’s perceived competency and perceived worth drops exponentially more than men’s when they are are perceived as forceful or assertive. I’ve featured their work in my TEDx talk Time to Brave Up, and in my new book The Most Powerful You and my Most Powerful You Course which is why I’m so excited to speak with Joseph today and bring you his expert insights and perspectives on navigating crucial conversations.

This episode is part of our “Summer Pick series” which features a selection of the most popular and downloaded shows we’ve aired in the past several years.


Highlights from this Episode:

  • Why Joseph was first drawn to topics around communication and crucial conversations [5:36]
  • The real reasons he feels that many of the conversations happening today are so volatile [9:01]
  • Why your internal and external approach to a conversation will often be the key to achieving a successful outcome with the other person [12:57]
  • The way that our fears, or the threats that we perceive, will impact how a conversation unfolds [15:22]
  • A technique he recommends to disarm perceived threats by both parties [16:06]
  • The 3 different types of stories we tell ourselves, and how to begin mastering them today [20:30]
  • A time that Joseph made a stand to have his voice heard, and the role that setting ground rules beforehand had in doing this [23:44]
  • What the goal of every conversation should be, and what we shouldn’t be trying to do [27:24]
  • How I was able to diffuse a difficult situation that I faced in my professional career [32:18]


For More Information: 


Resources Mentioned:

Ready to become more confident, powerful and successful in work you love?



If you’re tired of working so hard in a career that just isn’t working for you, this is the course for you! This transformative 8-module training course, based on my bestselling book The Most Powerful You, will help you close the 7 most damaging power gaps that keep 98% of professional women from thriving at the highest level, and reaching their most thrilling potential.

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In Australia and New Zealand, click here to order, elsewhere outside North America, click here, and in the UK, click here.

If you enjoy the book, we’d so appreciate your giving the book a positive rating and review on Amazon! 


Other resources mentioned:

Joseph’s Book, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High & His Other Works 

Untangling the Mind: Why We Behave the Way We Do by Theodore George, M.D. 

Kathy’s Forbes Blog with Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, Gender Bias Is Real: Women’s Perceived Competency Drops Significantly When Judged As Being Forceful

Kathy’s Forbes Post, What Is Feminism, And Why Do So Many Women And Men Hate It?

Kathy’s Power Gaps Survey, Support To Build Your LinkedIn Profile To Great Success & Other Free Resources

Her TEDx Talk, Time To Brave Up & Free Career Path Self-Assessment

Kathy’s Amazing Career Project video training course & 6 Dominant Action Styles Quiz


Sponsor Highlight  

I’m thrilled that both and Amazon Music are now sponsors of Finding Brave! Take advantage of their great special offers and free trials today! 

Audible Offer

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“The only way norms get reset, and the only way that biases become apparent and addressable, is through conversation. That’s the only mechanism that gives us any hope.” [4:00]

“Time and time again, we’ve found that almost any area of pain within an organization, what kept those problems chronic and turned them from an incident into a pattern, is peoples’ inability to confront, discuss and resolve [the issues].” [6:02]

“All of us are really hardwired for failure around complex social dynamics. However, we have the software to learn. We have the capacity to rise above our thinking and our patterns, and to create new ones.” [10:25]

“The words that come out of your mouth will have part of an effect, but if there’s a contradiction between what I read from your face and what I read from your mouth, I’ll trust the face.” [14:15]

“There’s a huge opportunity for us to de-escalate our own emotions, if we recognize that this is just a perceived threat, and not a real threat.” [16:03]

“When you behave in a way that’s inconsistent with their story, you help them dismantle it.” [34:41]


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Kathy’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss shares vital information on the 7 most damaging power gaps that 98% of professional women face and how to overcome them. Boost your power and confidence today!


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