Life happens one conversation at a time, and almost everything we want is on the other side of a tough conversation. The problem? Communication is hard. We were born with a voice box, but it didn’t come with instructions on how best to use it.

Published with the author’s permission.

Communications expert AmyK Hutchens wants to change that. In her new book, Get It: Five Steps to the Sex, Salary and Success You Want, she shares how to confidently and competently navigate our toughest conversations without saying something we’ll regret, giving our power away, or damaging our relationships. I recently caught up with AmyK to learn what inspired her to write the book, her favorite idea from it, and how that idea impacted her life.

What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?

The idea to share what I do in a book zapped my heart and head when a coaching client shared that I had helped save his marriage. Let me be clear. I’m NOT a therapist. I’m a business coach and professional speaker. But the tools that I was sharing with thousands of leaders were being used at home and they were really helping people get what they longed for.

And it wasn’t just him. I started to get people at events coming up after my presentation thanking me for talking about the tough conversations with friends and family members. I got people emailing me saying that a Magical Phrase had transformed an entire relationship dynamic. People were going from stuck and frustrated to relieved and excited.

These transformations made me realize that the frameworks and conversation flow outlines were helpful across a myriad of scenarios.

What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?

The Magical Phrases. These phrases are the brilliant back-pocket one-liners I wished I’d known years ago. They’re this fabulous blend of psychology and communication. They move the conversation forward in the best direction possible—toward your desired outcome. We’ve all experienced those gut-wrenching moments when we didn’t know what to say, we said the wrong thing, or we thought of the perfect comeback hours later when it was too late.

I get it. Communication is hard. These phrases boost your confidence by demonstrating the power of words. One of my favorites is “A part of me…” This Magical Phrase is a brilliant way to express a negative emotion you are feeling while simultaneously creating space for other emotions and possible solutions. Whether you’re upset with a partner, frustrated with one of your kids, fed up with an underperformer at work, or dealing with a difficult sibling, it’s important to not speak in absolutes. When you say, “I’m frustrated” or “I’m disappointed,” the other person hears an absolute. There’s no wiggle room for other emotions. It’s as if you just said, “I’m 100% frustrated” or “I’m 100% disappointed.”

Whereas, when you say, “A part of me is frustrated” or “A part of me is disappointed,” you’re communicating that it’s not your only emotion. You’re also leaving wiggle room for other emotions such as respect, hope, love, and connection. When you use the phrase, “A part of me…,” tension de-escalates because you’ve opened the door for other, more positive feelings, and you’ve created space for dialogue instead of defensiveness.

What’s a story of how you’ve applied this lesson in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?

Published with the author’s permission.

Get It is the ultimate self-help book because I needed every single one of these tools for myself. This is not some book written on high like a guru from above. Nope, I literally started on the floor. I was knocked to my knees with a failed marriage, a business in debt, and trying to figure out how, for such a supposedly smart person, I had made such a big mess.

At that lowest of lows, I realized that I wasn’t honoring the worth of my own voice. I wasn’t asking for what I needed and wanted. So I got really clear on what it was I wanted—exactly what I wanted—and I took it step by step, one conversation at a time. Over a short period of time, I saw the results of these conversations: conversations with myself about my values and drivers, and my own definition of success, conversations with others on boundaries, their needs, and the skillsets and curiosities we each wanted to develop.

I rebuilt my life to better than I ever imagined. The more I used the tools the more I got what I wanted. I got super clear on what I wanted my life to look like. I paid off all the debt. I was then able to invest in my company and watch it grow. I met an amazing man and together we built an incredible relationship. Simultaneously, I was using these specific conversation tools and this approach with clients and they were getting results in their personal and professional lives. They were more adept at working with their board members and shareholders. Their company culture was getting stronger. They were scaling their businesses like never before. They were getting better relationships with spouses and kids. All one conversation at a time.

This fired me up even more. And it’s not a one and done. To this day I use my Conversation Prep Planner and the 5 Steps every time I have a critical conversation on the horizon. They work. They set everyone up to get more of what we each want.

For more advice on having tough conversations and getting what you want, you can find Get It: Five Steps to the Sex, Salary and Success You Want on Amazon.