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Failure to Communicate: How Conversations Go Wrong and What You Can Do to Right Them by Holly Weeks

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CHAPTER 10

Working Blind in the “Breakdown Gap”

GIL’S SCHOOL AND Delia’s school had recently merged. Easygoing, affable Gil stepped down as chairman of his school’s social studies department, and young, well-educated Delia stepped in as head of the merged departments. As the members of the formerly separate departments began to get comfortable with each other in meetings, some ribbing went back and forth over how each department used to handle particular questions in American history, with each side noisily defending their favored approach. Now that he didn’t have to act as chairman, Gil liked to join in with the others. Delia, now chairman, did not.

After one of those meetings, Delia took Gil aside and spoke quietly but clearly. “It doesn’t ...

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