Fierce Conversation Quotes on Beneficial Discussions

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Fierce Conversations" by Susan Scott. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you want to talk about your thoughts and feelings more? What are the top Fierce Conversations quotes that stick in your head?

Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott is a guide to having effective dialogue at work or in your personal life. After reading this book, you’ll have all the skills you need to solve issues and achieve happiness in life.

Continue reading for the best Fierce Conversations quotes to remember.

Quotes from Fierce Conversations

In Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott argues that to achieve happiness and success in life, you must constantly have courageous conversations—honest and sometimes uncomfortable discussions about your thoughts, feelings, desires, and issues. These aspects are constantly changing, and if left unaddressed, Scott warns that you may grow out of touch with reality and become misaligned with your goals. Further, failing to have courageous conversations risks perpetuating issues and damaging relationships. Scott provides a model for courageous conversations that will effectively solve critical issues, enable learning, and improve relationships so you can achieve happiness and success in all aspects of your life.

Here are Fierce Conversations quotes that express Scott’s main ideas.

“Our work, our relationships, and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time. While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can. Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have with this person. It could be. Participate as if it matters. It does.”

Scott explains that the first step in having courageous conversations is uncovering your truths—the most important aspects of your life currently. These aspects include your thoughts, feelings, desires, and concerns regarding important relationships and circumstances in your life. For example, you might need to discuss the truth of your concern for your best friend’s mental health, or as a business leader, the truth of the decrease in employee satisfaction at work.

Scott emphasizes that this process may be difficult because some truths are uncomfortable, and people often repress rather than consciously think about these things to avoid discomfort. To uncover your deep truths, ask yourself the following questions regarding yourself (who you are and who you want to be), your life path (personal relationships, goals, and so on), and your career (work relationships, work goals, and so on): 

  • What’s making me unhappy? 
  • What am I, or others, afraid to talk about? 
  • What changes or circumstances need to be discussed?
  • What do I want, why do I want it, and how will I get it?

The truths that arise in your answers are the most pressing topics you should discuss. Scott notes that as you do this regularly over time, the process will become a natural behavior and you’ll become more aware of your deep truths without having to spend time intentionally analyzing yourself and your life.

“A leader’s job is to get it right for the organization, not to be right.”

Scott’s model for discussion, designed for group meetings in corporate settings, intends to uncover all important details and perspectives of complex issues. This is important because organizations are multifaceted—individuals will have different perspectives on issues based on their location, role, level of authority, and so on. If each of these perspectives isn’t exposed, important details may be overlooked, which could result in poor solutions. 

To structure your discussion according to this model, Scott provides the following guidelines:

  1. Invite the people you need to talk to. In your invitation, brief these people on the topic to save time during the meeting—define the issue and its importance, and explain what their role is in the meeting. You can also include any background information that they should know before the meeting.
  2. Invite people to ask clarifying questions. Then, request that they perform the role you requested in the invitation—providing information, feedback, advice, and so on. Ensure everyone in the meeting speaks, and directly request input from those who don’t speak up.
  3. Have everyone write down how they’d handle the situation if they were you and share their answer aloud. Afterward, summarize the feedback you received, and ask if you forgot anything. Thank everyone for participating.

“Everyone wants one person in the world to whom they can tell the truth and from whom they will hear the truth. Become that person.”

Scott explains that you must give the other person(s) your complete, undivided attention. If the other party senses that you’re distracted or don’t care about what they’re saying, they’ll be reluctant to share their truth. To start things off right, get rid of distractions like technology, and make eye contact to show them you’re listening.

Further, focus on both the content of their statements as well as smaller details like their tone and body language. The things people say—the thoughts, feelings, details, and examples they discuss—show what’s important to them. Their tone and body language, and any changes in these elements that occur during the conversation, can indicate unspoken desires, fears, and emotions.

Fierce Conversation Quotes on Beneficial Discussions

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Here's what you'll find in our full Fierce Conversations summary:

  • Why you must have uncomfortable discussions about feelings
  • How to uncover the most critical issues that must be addressed
  • How to ensure you stay aligned with your life goals

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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