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How to Have Difficult Conversations at Work – Dawn Metcalfe

My guest on today’s show is the author of The HardTalk Handbook and specializes in helping people have important but difficult conversations that they would rather avoid.

Since leaving her native Ireland, Dawn Metcalfe has worked in seven countries including China and Japan, and now calls Dubai her home. Known for her straight-talking truth-telling and powerful insights, Dawn has worked with leaders around the world to change their perspective, their behavior and their impact on others. Dawn’s inspiration behind the book was being hired on eight different occasions to tell an employee that they smelt bad!

We discussed how to approach difficult conversations in every day circumstances, such as a corporate employee wanting to give a peer feedback, or an entrepreneur disagreeing with your business partner. This episode is essential listening for CEOs who want to create a culture of “speaking up” (spoiler alert: this is linked to a culture of “being heard”).

Dawn draws from extensive research and neuroscience techniques to explain human communication behavior and how to combat instincts that hold us back. We talked about how to resolve conflict and affect change no matter what your culture, background or experience.

We also discussed Dawn’s journey and the challenges she has overcome to get to this point – from threats of physical violence by her teenage students to managing a chronic disease.

Being nice is not the same as being kind. – Dawn Metcalfe

You can find @TeamHardTalk on all social media platforms, follow Dawn Metcalfe on LinkedIn or Twitter @PDSiDXB. You can order the HardTalk Handbook online at and