All of us have at least one person or group of people that we work with who has an issue that we really need to address — a performance problem, a behavioral issue, a piece of spinach stuck in their teeth — but for some reason, we avoid bringing up the topic with them. We’ve all been there.

Perhaps we’re afraid of hurting their feelings, getting a negative reaction, having our helpful intentions misunderstood, or otherwise causing an unintended consequence. So we don’t bring it up, and the ignored topic becomes the proverbial elephant in the room that gets bigger over time … continuing to hold back that person’s true success and also negatively affecting us and others on the team. We aren’t doing anyone a favor by pretending it doesn’t exist. So how can we address the elephant in a way that we can be confident is likely to bring about a healthy result?

That’s where communication expert Dr. Mike Bechtle comes in. You’ve seen his books in airports and other bookstores for years. His best-known book is People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys, and his newest book is Dealing with the Elephant in the Room: Moving from Tough Conversations to Healthy Communication. It’s based on his belief that, with the right tools and skills, individuals can learn to negotiate the toughest conversations without intimidation and frustration.

Over the past 29 years as a senior consultant with FranklinCovey, Mike has taught more than 3,000 seminars about productivity and communication, done executive coaching, and written five books to help people at all levels live their lives intentionally (instead of by default).

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Subscription Links


Your Feedback

If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at, subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.