On Books: Powerful Conversations
I was attending a Conference Board Meeting which was addressed by Mr. R. Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director of Tata Sons. He referred to this book [Powerful Conversations by Phil Harkins, Tata McGraw Hill] so I promptly noted it down, and on my way home I entered Crossword; it got richer by a few hundred rupees!
Usually I refrain from buying books which are ‘prescriptive’ in nature. They just put me off. I remember reading a book on procrastination that advised the reader to draw up a ‘to-do’ list at the end of the first chapter. The second chapter began with the question ‘have you prepared the ‘to-do’ list’? That book ended there for me!
But this book is somewhat different. Even if prescriptive, it makes great sense and one would like to read it for its practical advice. I also wondered how anyone could have written a book on the subject without being prescriptive.
I have realized that ability to hold dialogues and good meaningful conversations is one of the most important competencies for any individual at any level in the organization. Unfortunately this is neither taught in schools nor emphasized well enough at homes. Perhaps because sullenness attracts greater attention! Added to that is the fact that corporate world fosters being ‘evaluative’; a sure poison to dialogue and conversation.
There are three sections in the book: Part 1 focuses on defining Powerful Conversations, Part 2 focuses on its practice and the Appendix contains a series of tools which help the reader.