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Olin Business School

Difficult Conversations

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n today’s collaborative environment, getting things done requires the ability to work across silos, through differences and around a variety of unexpected obstacles. The ability to handle difficult conversations — with direct reports, peers, customers, partners or suppliers — is key to your ability to lead effectively. This interactive session, designed by members of the Harvard Negotiation Project, will offer a framework and practical skills for handling conflict and making sound decisions while maintaining good working relationships.


  • Triggers that make you lose your best skills
  • Systematic cognitive biases and heuristics that hamper learning and decision-making
  • Physiology of emotion and the impacts on cognition
  • Costs and benefits of different approaches to handling disputes


  • Diagnose causes of difficulty in conversations
  • Make counterparts comfortable sharing honest information
  • Foster curiosity and willingness to listen to a counterpart


I first came to Aquinas Institute in 1994 as a neophyte religion teacher in the Catholic education system in Guam, Micronesia. Twenty years some odd years later, I still am learning and growing here! While completing my doctorate, I joined the regular faculty of the school in 2000 to teach pasto...

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