Difficult Conversations

“The answer to every intractable argument is the answer to one of these questions: what do they think is true? What do they think is right? What do they think they want? And, oh yes, how strongly do they feel about it?”

Conversations become fraught for a thousand reasons, but a few things are true of every difficult interaction. Each is, for one thing, intense, framed by emotion, often bristling, sometimes scary.

However simple the issue seems, once engaged the discussion rapidly takes on layers, makes detours, grows tentacles of complexity and convolution. Anger, frustration follow. Soon enough, both combatants despair that the other will ever understand.

Lonnie Barone has worked with leaders from the corporate world, unions, family enterprises, the military and nonprofit sectors to learn the lessons taught by those with a solid track record of shepherding fractious disputes to fruitful conclusions.

In this workshop you’ll discover, through discussion and simulations, strategies for achieving the best outcome — which can range from a fabulous coalescence of ideas to the avoidance of a fistfight. You’ll learn the keys to dealing with difficult conversations: attending, sorting, resolving, and mending.

Finally, there’s your most precious asset, the one that assures you possess the confidence, loyalty, trust, and respect of others. That asset is credibility. With credibility you will navigate the most precarious interactions successfully; your relationship will emerge strong and resilient; your leadership will be marked with the ultimate power, your personal and professional integrity.

This workshop is free to all Wharton undergraduate students. Applications to attend the Workshop will be reviewed on a rolling basis. If you have any questions, please email Amanda Zimmerman.

  • Date: TBD
  • Times: TBD
  • Location: JMHH 265
  • Facilitator: Lonnie Barone, President of Barone Associates

Lonnie Barone

President of Barone Associates, which he founded in 1989, Lonnie Barone is an executive coach at The Wharton School, where he has also instructed undergraduates in interpersonal effectiveness and leadership. He is a graduate instructor in business communication skills at Temple’s Fox School, and he presents on credibility, negotiation and conflict resolution; he conducts the Emerging Leaders Program in Negotiation at the Harvard School of Public Health. Lonnie co-wrote the best-selling text book on the effective use of voice and gesture, Your Voice Is Your Business, now in its 2nd edition (2016). His college text, Counseling and Interviewing in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology: A Therapy Resource, is in wide use since Jones and Bartlett published it in 2016. Lonnie received his bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Villanova University and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.