Essential Conversations

Connecting with colleagues on the most vital issues.

Conflict is a double-edged sword. It can foster creativity and improve results, or it can undermine relationships and threaten productivity. Turn difficult discussions into a vehicle for personal growth and improved teamwork.

Human Brain vs. Reptile Brain

Inside our brain lives a little reptile called the amygdala. It is fast and excellent at keeping us from harm. The reptile brain triggers the fight-or-flight responses that protect us from physical harm, but sabotage essential conversations.

Our thoughtful, human brain has incredible power. It is also significantly slower than the reptile brain, which can derail feedback conversations before our human brain even realizes what has happened.

In this training, participants learn how to master the skill of receiving and giving feedback — in all its forms — while keeping themselves and others out of the reptile brain and in their human brain.

We put the learning back into conversations and help your people turn difficult discussions into a vehicle for personal growth and improved collaboration.


The percentage of hiring managers who consider communication skills one fo the most important attributes for employees.

Companies ranked communication skills as the most important consideration when giving promotions.


The estimated reduction in IQ when your amygdala is triggered and blood is shunted away from your brain to support the fight-or-flight response.

Ready to use your human brain?

This was my second time taking the course, and I have also read the book. The first time it was eye-opening. The second time served as valuable review/reinforcement. One of the best classes I’ve taken at this company. A good mix of substantive content, real-world examples to illustrate, and hand-on opportunities to practice and integrate concepts. Having a central theme (feedback as a gift) is tremendously helpful to learning. It presents a novel approach to feedback that I don’t think is instinctual to most people. It has made me so much more comfortable receiving feedback and accepting it graciously. It has improved my conversations and relationship with my managers and clients. If my direct reports adopt these concepts I am sure it will improve my relationships with them. Ultimately it will help everyone improve performance and work relationships.

Participant Microsoft