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Building Connections and Navigating Difficult Conversations

–My Discussion with Mark Silverman on his Mastering Overwhelm Podcast

Please enjoy my recent discussion with Mark J. Silverman as a Guest on his Mastering Overwhelm Podcast.


It’s important for an effective communicator to get people into that ‘uncomfortable’ category—to bring them into a conversation that is not going to be well-received but is needed to move forward.

~Sejal Thakkar

Sejal Thakkar is the founder and Chief Civility Officer of TrainXtra, a woman/minority-owned training consulting firm based in South San Francisco, California. A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion expert and former employment attorney, Sejal is on a mission to educate and empower people to create a world where everyone is treated with respect and dignity. She is also the Chief Culture Officer of Nobody Studios, a venture capital firm that aims to create 100 compelling companies, guiding them from ideation to full-scale company validation. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Chicago and received her Juris Doctor degree from Northern Illinois University.

Sejal joins me today to share advice on leading people through difficult conversations. She explains why effective communication takes time and why we need more empathy in the world. She outlines the steps to facilitating difficult conversations. She describes the three conversations that simultaneously occur whenever you talk to someone about difficult topics. Sejal also highlights the importance of normalizing conversations around race relations, privilege, and unconscious bias and underscores the value of active listening.

This week on Mastering Overwhelm:

  • Resilience and getting out of the overwhelm of grief
  • Creating connections in the world
  • Why effective communication takes time
  • How building connections and rapport makes it easier to navigate difficult conversations
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the disconnection between people
  • Key facilitation skills all middle managers must have
  • The steps in leading difficult conversations
  • Conversations about feelings, identity, and being right
  • How to get people to listen to conversations about race relations and privileges
  • Identifying different points of view before having a difficult conversation
  • Assessing your own assumptions and biases before leading a difficult conversation
  • Leading up, leading across, leading your team, and leading yourself
  • How Sejal’s legal background helps her navigate difficult conversations with people
  • How I teach people how to be present through mindful breathing
  • How to proactively kick your brain into active listening mode

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Sejal Thakkar:

Mastering Overwhelm – Set Yourself Free to Enjoy Your Success

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Sejal Thakkar
Sejal Thakkarhttps://trainxtra.com/
Dubbing herself "Chief Civility Officer", Sejal is not your average employment law attorney! Her more than fifteen years of experience advising clients, human resources personnel, and legal counsel regarding sound, standard employment practices uncovered a need - and personal passion - for bringing more proactive, relevant, and impactful workplace training programs to her clients and their teams. Her highly experiential customized workshops tailored to executives, managers, and individual contributors bring the courtroom to the training room in an interactive, engaging environment that favors human stories over compliance checklists

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