Discover how to conquer the HardTalk that has been holding you back

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This is the Handbook you didn’t realise you’ve always needed.

We all have HardTalks we are avoiding. Don’t relish the idea of telling your colleague they smell? Baulk at the notion of admitting your boss is ineffective? You are not alone. Discover the science and art behind why we’d rather ‘put up’ instead of ‘turn up’ and how you can effectively have the difficult conversations that make all the difference.

Book Testimonials

 “The HardTalk Handbook provides a clear, focused, practical and user-friendly way to achieve better success in the difficult conversations that all of us have on a daily basis. Dawn’s comprehensive approach is not overly prescriptive, but provides flexible tools for everyone to improve how they make the hard talk easier and more profitable for both parties involved.
I’ve spent most of the last three decades living in different international cities outside the country of my birth, and I am sure that these lessons will have highly effective cross-cultural impact.
As such, the Handbook provides an invaluable contribution to my business and personal development, into which I expect to dip in future for handling tips on a very regular basis. I commend it highly.”

Steve Harrison

MVO MBE, CEO & Founding Partner of H Squared Consultants and a former British diplomat:

“In an age when organisation must achieve more with less, under-performance must be dealt with. This book will help have challenging conversations in a way that leads to a positive result.”
“Dawn has found a way to help anyone tackle even the most challenging of conversations. A must read for business leaders who want the best for their organisations.”

Richard Nugent

Managing Director Twenty One Leadership

“I believe this will become a core competency for supervisory, managerial, and senior manager levels”

Hosam Al Yousof

GM HR and Support Services, Almarai

“The HardTalk Handbook provides a clear, focused, practical and user-friendly way to achieve better success in the difficult conversations that all of us have on a daily basis.”

Steve Harrison

MVO MBE, CEO & Founding Partner of H Squared Consultants

“The HardTalk Handbook does an excellent job in explaining issues that most need to understand.”

Mishal Kanoo

Chairman The Kanoo Group

“There are so many great things about this book. It is full of concrete examples, which is essential to helping people to understand the topic better and learn from it. The structure from preparation to completion of the talk, along with the opportunity for readers to personalise their experience of it, is logical and appealing. The innovative way the reader can connect with the reference material and the author online via the website and social media is not only a new approach, but one that will ensure these skills ‘stick’. This is a credible and essential book, not to be missed.”

Danilo Cassani MENA VP

Takeda Pharmaceuticals

“HardTalk is an essential guide for anyone who wants to master the skill of effective intercultural communication.”

Professor Martin Spraggon

Associate Dean - Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government

 “This is an extremely well written book with a structure and layout that will maximise understanding and retention. Perfect for professionals to improve their communication and talk about difficult subjects.”

Essa Al Mulla

Deputy Director ENDP (Emirates National Development Programme)

 “This is the most concise practical book I’ve ever read on the subject of difficult conversations. A must read for business leaders who want the best for their organisations”

Richard Nugent

Managing Director Twenty One Leadership

“The HardTalk Handbook does an excellent job in explaining issues that most need to understand. In fact, I think this is such a good book, that I want to not only get a copy for myself but keep a few to give to people whom I think desperately need to read this to understand what is it that is stopping them from getting where they want to go. I am sure that it will be a raging success.”

Mishal Kanoo

Chairman, The Kanoo Group

“Candour is key to success. Without it we don’t surface problems and can’t solve them. We need people to tell us what they’re really thinking so we can make great decisions. But not everyone finds this easy to do. This books teaches them how to do it in a way that builds relationships. It also helps those who need to listen more effectively. I’ll be buying a copy for my team for sure!

Katharine Birbalsingh

Headteacher, Michaela Community School

Hard Talk is more than a book, it is a manual on effective inter-personal communication. The book’s solutions have a high positive impact on the effectiveness of one’s overall inter-personal relationships and even how one thinks. What makes the book so effective is a focus on providing both detailed directions as well as case studies to support and build upon the core ideas and discussions. The book borrows from cognitive behavioural theory, possibly the most effective tool in psychology’s toolbox, and help train the reader to recognize the difference between emotions and thoughts. Building on this foundation there are multiple exercises that help the reader to manage, or accept, reactive emotions but act in a thoughtful, effective manner. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is not a one or two concept book, it really covers possibly the whole breadth of inter-personal communication.

Sabah Al Binali

CEO Universal Strategy

“I understand this book was written as the reading material for the HardTalk learning & development programme, nevertheless, in its own right, I would recommend it as a must- read book for anyone who needs to have a difficult conversation, who needs to convey an unpalatable message – whether as the boss with a team member, whether it is with a team colleague or with the boss, or indeed with a friend or family member. My congratulations to Ms Metcalfe on the breadth and depth of learning she has provided in HardTalk.”

Tony McVerr

Manging Director, Esquires Coffee

“Any person that manages or works with others should read this book. Which one of us has not postponed the Hardtalk that we know is required or indeed, avoided it altogether, because we were afraid of feeling uncomfortable or being seen by our colleagues as “not a nice person”. In this book Dawn Metcalfe not only explains the absolute necessity to have the conversation, but also outlines the strategies we all can use to make the having of the Hardtalk of benefit to all involved with interesting case histories and practical examples. She has made a difficult subject very accessible with easy to follow work sheets, I know I will be referring back to this book many times in the future.”

Steve McGettigan

Director of Marketing and Communications Sims IVF

“I intend to keep a copy of Hardtalk in the top drawer of my desk so I will be reminded daily of really important concepts that we overlook at our cost.”

Gerry Murphy

Author, The Accidental Entrepreneur

“This book packs a lot of punch by being pragmatic, impactful and illuminating!”

Kristen Pressner

CHRO of a multinational company

“Everyone avoids Hardtalk. This can be very expensive for organisations and debilitating for all concerned. Dawn Metcalfe’s Hardtalk is full of great advice which is worth reading and re-reading again and again. Dawn has distilled a lot of wisdom into 1XX pages and I intend to keep a copy Hardtalk in the top drawer of my desk so I will be reminded daily of really important concepts that we overlook at our cost.”

Gerry Murphy Author

The Accidental Entrepreneur

“Dawn hits the nail on the head regarding how to gain confidence in the challenging conversations that are an important part of life. This book packs a lot of punch by being pragmatic, impactful and illuminating! Thanks Dawn, from everyone who is challenged by HardTalk conversations”

Kristen Pressner

CHRO of a multinational company

As a lawyer, executive and project manager, every day I face the challenge of having difficult conversations, often surrounding disagreements. HardTalk provides many practical tools that anyone can adapt to their hard conversations. Without a doubt this is the most relevant and helpful book I’ve read on being more effective at HardTalk.

Paul Pelletier

Managing Director, PP Consulting

Everyone speaks. Those who get what they want are the ones who can convey their message the best. Effectively communicating what’s in your mind to another person is what separates frustration from satisfaction. Metcalfe’s HardTalk takes her experiences having traveled the globe, realizing even like-speaking people often are saying completely separate things with the same words and boils all of that down to simply lessons to bolster your own ability to use the right words, with the right attitude, at the right time.

Dane Rauschenberg

Extreme Athlete - Author - Speaker

“A highly recommended read for leaders in diverse societies and organisations, Dawn’s comprehensive insights, combined with her practical approach, make HardTalk an essential guide for anyone who wants to master the skill of effective intercultural communication.”

Professor Martin Spraggon

Associate Dean, Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government

“I was delighted with the opportunity to read this book The Hardtalk Handbook and would recommend the book to anybody like myself who is a salesperson ( isn’t everybody ? ) Chapter 7 on Listening is so very important and on its own is a must read for anybody interested in developing their sales/listening skills.
I will be recommending The Hardtalk Handbook to all my colleagues in the Sherry FitzGerald Group.”

John O’Reilly

Director, Sherry FitzGerald Group

“This book packs a lot of punch by being pragmatic, impactful and illuminating!”

Paul Pelletier

Managing Director, PP Consulting

“I would recommend it as a must- read book for anyone who needs to have a difficult conversation”

Tony McVerry

Managing Director, Esquires Coffee

“Hard Talk is more than a book, it is a manual on effective inter-personal communication.”

Sabah Al Binali

CEO Universal Strategy

I know I will be referring back to this book many times in the future.”

Steve McGettigan

Director of Marketing and Communications Sims IVF