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Nov 02, 2020

Brave Conversations

Sara Wachter-Boettcher

About this video


How do you face challenging conversations with honesty, kindness and accountability? Work relationships aren’t always easy. People disagree, priorities come into conflict, and sometimes feelings get hurt. Many of us have learned that the “professional” thing to do is to shove our emotions down and slap on a fake smile. But while avoidance can feel more comfortable in the moment, it ultimately makes things worse: you get burnt out, teams lose trust, and collaboration turns to contention. The antidote is brave conversations. This session covers:

  • The basics of brave conversation: being direct yet compassionate, naming what’s not working, and building shared expectations and agreements
  • How avoiding conflict and “staying positive” uphold biased, inequitable norms
  • How to communicate your needs in healthy ways
  • How to create a culture where brave conversations are celebrated, not punished


Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Sara is the founder of Active Voice, a coaching and training company helping organizations build radical, courageous leadership practices. Her most recent book, Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech (W.W. Norton, 2017), was named one of the best tech books of the year by Wired, and one of the top business books of the year by Fast Company. Sara is also the co-author, with Eric Meyer, of Design for Real Life (A Book Apart, 2016), a book about creating products and interfaces that are more inclusive and compassionate, and the author of Content Everywhere (Rosenfeld Media, 2012), a book about creating flexible, mobile-ready content. Sara also runs Strong Feelings, the podcast for feminists at work, and Collective Strength, a feminist leadership event series based in Philly. She speaks about design, tech, gender and leadership at conferences around the world. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, Slate, The Guardian, Salon, McSweeney’s and more. She’s based in Philly, but you can always find her at