What is HardTalk™?

HardTalk™ is a modular programme that can significantly improve the performance of your company by teaching individuals and teams the communication skills to combat an all too common problem; how to have difficult conversations. The certified HardTalk™ programme draws from research in psychology, sociology, behavioural economics and neuroscience, as well as original research conducted in the Middle East. It will give participants the confidence to speak up and teach them how to do that in a way that will build relationships and get results. The programme also offers organisations an opportunity to conduct an audit in order to identify any additional barriers to HardTalk™, other than the individual’s skills. On completion of the audit, guidance and advice will be offered on best practices to overcome any internal or external obstacles.

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What makes HardTalk™ Different?

It’s personal

At HardTalk™, we understand your business. We have worked with companies all over the world and understand the challenges you face. We have witnessed situations in which difficult conversations were avoided at a cost to the business. We have even messed some of them up ourselves! That is why we know that successfully implementing HardTalk™ will be extremely beneficial for your business.

It’s practical

A failure to navigate difficult conversations successfully, or not have the HardTalk™ altogether, can have drastic implications for key areas of your business including:

  • Strategy
  • Execution
  • Safety
  • Revenue
  • Customer satisfaction


  • Collaboration
  • Productivity
  • Diversity
  • Employee retention
  • Sales

HardTalk’s modular structure addresses many of these factors as individual applications as well as providing the skills to tackle difficult conversations in any situation. As well as utilising world-wide behavioural research, it is structured to optimise learning, engagement and retention. By using FAWs (Frequently Asked What If’s) it also answers the most commonly raised objections found in any soft skills programme that includes change (i.e. – all of them).

It’s flexible

HardTalk™ is completely tailorable. Its existing applications have been created to address particularly critical business areas but the programme can be further customized to the specific scenarios that are most costly to your organisation. The modular structure of HardTalk™ means it can even accommodate the busiest of schedules and it can also be incorporated into most Leadership Competencies frameworks.

It’s comprehensive

HardTalk™ is a tried and tested platform that will provide lasting, and successful, communication skills through certified training sessions hosted by qualified facilitators designed to provide the maximum benefit to your business. Participants will experience fully interactive sessions, expert videos (including from FBI negotiators), self-assessment audits for diagnostics and immediately implementable tips and tricks to reinforce the training value. HardTalk™ also goes beyond the training to examine and advise on any potential structural or cultural factors that might exacerbate the avoidance of difficult conversations.

Sounds good, but how do I make it stick?

They say people don’t change and can’t learn new things. At HardTalk™, we couldn’t disagree more; we believe it depends on how you teach those new things. You might have attended training or workshops in the past and would now struggle to recall their content or outcomes, but HardTalk is different. The HardTalk™ training programme has been specifically designed to produce lasting behavioural change so you keep using its lessons in the future.

The tried and tested ‘sticky’ methods of HardTalk™ are a crucial part of what makes the programme so effective in producing results. The certified HardTalk™ Programme makes sure you don’t waste what you learn by:

  • Allowing participants to track their progress with pre and post training assessments
  • Using real life, and regionally relevant, scenarios
  • Having participants apply their new skills to actual HardTalk experiences from within their organisation
  • Giving access to a membership-only area in which participants can view research, ask further questions and share best practice
  • Containing the bespoke online platform ‘Rehearsal’ which can be used for highly effective video practice sessions, feedback sharing and self-assessment
  • Offering one-on-one ‘LiveRehearsal’ coaching with certified HardTalk facilitators
  • Providing an optional audit to assess if any external obstacles, such as existing compensation schemes or workplace culture, might inhibit individuals using HardTalk™
  • Including comprehensive research, that shapes the programme, within its online resources so participants can learn more about the science behind HardTalk™

Is HardTalk™ for me?

As long as there are people in the workplace, there will be a need for HardTalk™! Over 60% of employees attribute mishandled conflict with poor outcomes that include injury, work absence and project failure. We have all experienced the panic that comes when faced with a difficult conversation, whether in your personal or professional life. Striving for a positive outcome without offending or causing further issues would test the most skilled of communicators. HardTalk™ is for anyone who:

  • Has to speak to other human beings to get things done and has experienced disappointment with how well this has gone in the past
  • Knows that the best results come from productive behaviour – whether that’s employees, peers, managers, boards, customers or stakeholders
  • Can’t or doesn’t want to rely on their title to get things done
  • Is responsible for and invested in the workplace culture (P.S – that’s everyone!)


I would like to say I had the pleasure to be one of participants to your fabulous presentation.  You had an uncanny ability to know what we wanted, even  before we asked which made us feel comfortable with you.  Within just 20 mins you feel that you have finished several classes on leadership and interpersonal skills.  It was one of the most important presentations that I had ever experienced.  Thanks.

- Maher Sharif, Product Manager


The HardTalk session brought me aware of several mistakes I do by having HardTalk and gave me a lot of possibilities to improve. I enjoyed the training very much and learned a lot about it.

- Ruud Janssen, Regional CFO Sysmex Middle East


It was delightful to listen to Dawn speaking passionately about Hardtalk. She elegantly grasped our attention and introduced us to familiar concepts and yet shared with us how things can look different from a new perspective. No question, Dawn has a gentle and an engaging approach to explain about this well thought pattern of hardtalk. It resonated to me personally when she talked about labelling emotions. I am looking forward to read the book!

- Hiba Raychouni Co-active Coach, HR generalist


Attending the hard talk presentation by Dawn at London Business School was informative. The topic is universal; recommended for team leaders and team members as well as husbands and wives; In other words, it is needed by pretty much everyone who needs to have a tough discussion and end up better off than not having it or having it in a less constructive way.

- Ahmed Imam, Regional Product Manager at Hilti


I found her an interesting and engaging speaker with tonnes of personality and warmth. Her willingness to share her experiences and expertise with the audience made for a really enjoyable talk and interactive Q&A session. Dawn is straight talking, knowledgeable, passionate, and a truly authentic thought leader in her field.

- Conor Molloy Associate, Director of Client Services


I was lucky to attend the HardTalk program at the 2017 HR Summit in Beirut. HardTalk quickly became the audience favourite because of its relevance and practicality. Difficult conversations are all around us in our everyday lives, personal and professional, and I know that my take-aways from the Program will stay with me for years to come.

- Thouraya Sayess, Executive & Personal Coach


I have attended the Hard Talk workshop in London Business School organized event last week, it was simply impressive, I realized we need someone to unlock our abilities to talk, express and say what we intend to say without fear, shyness or humbleness as we like to say. I highly recommend this workshop, take it and you will never regret it.

- Naveen Jaiswal, CEO at Bugle | Entrepreneur | MBA from London Business School


I have attended the Hard Talk workshop in London Business School organized event last week, it was simply impressive, I realized we need someone to unlock our abilities to talk, express and say what we intend to say without fear, shyness or humbleness as we like to say. I highly recommend this workshop, take it and you will never regret it.

- Naveen Jaiswal, CEO at Bugle | Entrepreneur | MBA from London Business School


I attended a two hour lecture about HardTalk by Dawn and it made a big impact. Dawn has done a very good job in putting the material together.

- Kosta Bitopoulos, Entrepreneur


Probably one of the most genuinely effective coaches and speakers in the Middle East. Dawn's ability to develop effective and interesting lectures and workshops around organisational behaviour has given her a lot of credibility within the London Business School network. Her recent development of HardTalk (an insight into the tough conversations that we should be having within organisations and the reasons why we shy away from them) is truly enlightening and will have a great impact in any team.

- David Medawar, Assistant Director at London Business School


I had the pleasure of meeting and connecting with Dawn at the HR Summit in Lebanon. I had heard good stories beforehand but I was impressed that she was even better than expected. Hard Talk - the topic of her book and talks - is a very relevant topic in today's world of continuous and honest feedback, and being able to deliver hard talk is a critical skill for modern leaders. Dawn's content is great and engaging, as is her delivery, especially when making us as the audience aware of the unconscious labelling we all do and how that impacts our ability to analyze and communicate effectively. Go read the book if you haven't already, it's absolutely worth your while! While you at it, make sure you follow her on Twitter for some refreshingly candid and insightful views on the world.

- Giovanni Everduin, SHRM-SCP, HRMP Organizational Strategist & Futurist | HR, Culture & Analytics | Shared Services | Speaker | Writer | Creative