communications | September 04, 2012

How to Talk to People About Things: Misha Glouberman’s Negotiation Class is in Session

Learning how to talk to people is incredibly straightforward, says communications speaker Misha Glouberman. But it’s also incredibly easy to muck up. That’s why Glouberman offers his provocatively titled How to Talk To People About Things, a six-week lecture series that has sold out every time he’s offered it. Taking place at Hart House, at the University of Toronto, the course vividly shows people how to negotiate with others—a skill (and, yes, it’s a skill) that the host of the popular Trampoline Hall series says is incredibly useful, but often and easily mismanaged. The course puts people from all walks of life together in an interactive setting to learn how to more effectively “talk things out.”
“I think the material is really amazing,” Glouberman told Lavin this week, referring to the fact that he uses exercises from both the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and Toronto's Common Outlook firm, as well as anecdotes and observations from his own life. “One of things that's unusual about the group that I teach is that I sometimes get people who don't realize [negotiation] is something they can learn and get better at.”

Glouberman's book The Chairs Are Where the People Go, co-authored with Sheila Heti, plays to a similar strategy. Chairs is a humorous and insightful collection of musings about everyday occurrences—having conversations at a party, living in a city, settling neighbourhood disputes—that also teach readers more about themselves and those around them. Deeply passionate about human interaction and the basis of social norms, Glouberman provides thought-provoking observations about life and how to life it with other people—whether it be in a tight-knit seminar or a large-scale conference.

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