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How to Avoid the Top 5 Conversation Mistakes

Many books and publications tackle subject matters that lead to hard conversations to have. This can often be awkward for some authors during readings and signings, or even during panel discussions and live videos.

Difficult conversations are difficult because they are high-stakes conversations. At risk in this moment is the relationship with the other person, the individual's personal sense of goodness, a need for validation, a sense of identity, and endemic fears of rejection and judgement.

When difficult conversations become productive, they improve relationships and strengthen them. When they go wrong, though, relationships can be permanently damaged.

That's why it's important to avoid the top 5 conversational mistakes most people make when trying to engage in difficult conversations:

  1. Seeking to change the other person's view, rather than to expand their own view.

  2. Assuming their way of seeing things is the only way to see them and that anyone who doesn't see it their way is wrong.

  3. Listening to respond rather than listening to understand the other person's viewpoint.

  4. Failing to clarify what the other person means by what they say before responding to them.

  5. Assuming that the other person is driven by bad intentions or a flawed character, rather than by misguidance, misinformation, or lessons learned in childhood and never challenged since.

While easy to make, when these mistakes are made, conversations inevitably break down and become counterproductive. It can even cause the parties involved to further entrench themselves in their beliefs rather than giving them the room they need to think through the new perspectives presented to them and incorporate those into their existing world view.

Avoiding these five mistakes is part of the training Path To Publishing will be offering to contributors as we crowdfund our novel, The Price We Pay. That book, along with the training, is all part of our plan to equip our supporters and contributors with everything required to help open the door to these important conversations in a way that is respectful and productive.

To discover more about our novel approach to changing the conversation around race relations, visit our crowdfunding pre-launch campaign page at Be sure to sign up to be notified when our crowdfunding campaign kicks off so you can #JoinTheConversation.

To learn more about the training we offer at Path To Publishing to help you navigate your role as an author, thought-leader, or change-agent, which includes having, moderating, and leading tough conversations, email

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