The Four Conversations: Daily Communication That Gets Results

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 59%)
Est. Return Date: 07/21/2015
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 33%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $4.98
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 76%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $4.98   
  • New (7) from $11.03   
  • Used (10) from $4.98   


Explores how even small changes in the way we talk with one another can produce extraordinarily positive outcomes. Describes how to get maximum results from four types of conversations we use every day Research-based and practical, with sample dialogues and personal stories that show how to put the four conversations into practice Talk is powerful. Engaging in the right conversation at the right time is key to both personal and organizational success. And it isn't just difficult' conversations that matter. The Four Conversations clearly demonstrates it is the everyday dialogue we have with one another that is critical. Armed with a solid body of research and their own first-hand observations, Jeffrey and Laurie Ford identify four types of conversations that every one of us must use to get things done; initiative conversations to introduce something new; understanding conversations to help people relate to new ideas or processes; performance conversations to request specific actions and results; and closure conversations to complete work and give people a sense of accomplishment . They identify the specific elements that make each of these conversations successful and show how they can be put together in different ways to achieve different objectives. The Four Conversations demonstrates how to use the right conversation at the right time - planning and starting each one well, and finishing every conversation effectively - to produce the results we want and the improved productivity our organizations need. And through dozens of personal stories and sample dialogues, the authors illustrate how real people in real situations have used the four conversations, either alone or in combination, to more effectively combat common workplace problems and lay the foundations for enduring success; stronger relationships, better buy-in, and a greater feeling of personal and professional achievement for everyone.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576759202
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 238
  • Sales rank: 660,512
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ford is an Associate Professor at the Max Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University.

Ford is an independent management consultant and owner of Critical Path Consultants.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Chapter 1 Four Conversations in a Successful Workplace 1

The Importance of Conversations 3

Some Conversations Slow Things Down, Others Speed Things Up 6

Six Limitations to a Successful Workplace 22

Conversations: Your Personal Advantage 29

Key Points 29

Chapter 2 Initiative Conversations: Create a Future 31

Leaders Have Initiative Conversations 32

Choose Your Initiative Statement: What-When-Why 40

Prepare for Your Initiative Conversation: Who-Where-How 46

Launch Your Initiative Conversation 49

If You Are Missing Initiative Conversations 53

Putting It into Practice 56

Chapter 3 Understanding Conversations: Include and Engage 59

Help People Find a Positive Meaning in Your Message 60

Expand and Deepen Participation 68

The Limits of Understanding 82

If You Are Missing Understanding Conversations 90

Putting It into Practice 94

Chapter 4 Performance Conversations: Ask and Promise 97

Commit to Performance: What-When-Why 99

Ask Others to Commit 105

Promises Create Agreements: Who-Where-How 112

Manage the Agreement 120

If You Are Missing Performance Conversations 123

Putting It into Practice 127

Chapter 5 Closure Conversations: Create Endings 131

An Incomplete Past Can Prevent a New Future 132

The Four A's of Closure Conversations 134

Build Accountability and Resolve "People Problems" 150

If You Are Missing Closure Conversations 160

Putting It into Practice 163

Chapter 6 Using the Four Conversations 167

Conversational Tendencies 167

How the Four Conversations Work Together 169

Putting It into Practice 197

Chapter 7 Support the Conversational Workplace 201

The ConversationalWorkplace 201

Practices to Support the Conversational Workplace 203

Implementing the Practices: Four Tips 211

A Closing Note 215

Resources 217

Notes 219

Acknowledgments 223

Index 225

About the Authors 237

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)