Difficult Conversations (course offered through Stitt Feld Handy)

Course Details

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  • CDHA member fee: $75.00 Reg. 99.99 - 25% CDHA Member discount
  • CDHA student member fee: Not Available
  • Non-member fee: Not Available

Note that course registration fees are non-refundable.

Course Description

This course is being offered through the Stitt Feld Handy group, and not a part of CDHA. Registration, training, and certificates will be with Stitt Feld Handy not CDHA.

The Difficult Conversations course is designed to help you have the difficult, but necessary, conversations that we all have to face. In each of the five course modules, you will take part in a simulated conversation with an animated computer character. The characters make statements, ask questions, use difficult tactics, express strong emotions, and otherwise create difficulties for you. You will have to react to what a character says, answer questions, ask questions, and try to achieve your objective.

If the conversation does not go as well as it can, you will be told why and sent back to the spot in the conversation where you made your wrong turn so you can try again.

At the end of each module, you will find notes that can be downloaded and saved for future reference.

This course will teach you:

  • how to deliver difficult messages clearly and powerfully.
  • how to confront someone without provoking them.
  • how to persuade difficult people.
  • how to begin a difficult conversation.
  • how to discuss issues that take you by surprise.
  • how to manage strong emotions.

The material taught in this course is based on the material presented in the Stitt Feld Handy Group public workshop, “Dealing with Difficult People,” and in the books Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen, and Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott.

More Course Information

Course Information

Registration for the course is done online and the course is taken online in the comfort of your home, at your convenience and your pace. You may pause and restart at any time. It is expected that the entire course will take about 3–5 hours to complete; however, you can take as much time as you need, with the exception of the final examination. You may wish to break up your learning into several shorter sessions.

Course Demonstration

Course Demonstration

Try out the demonstration module, "The Presumptuous Customer." You will play the role of a restaurant owner who must confront a public figure who has jumped the queue and seated himself without a reservation on an evening when you are booked solid.

About the Course Developers

The Stitt Feld Handy Group is a world leader in providing training and practice for negotiation and alternative dispute resolution. The firm conducts workshops in negotiation and alternative dispute resolution in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

This online course is an attempt by the group to bring their renowned negotiation workshops to a global audience.

The simulations were written by Allan Stitt and Michael Gibson. They were directed and animated in Flash by Michael Gibson. The Negotiation Notes were written by Elinor Whitmore and Allan Stitt.


Allan Stitt is a mediator, arbitrator, and professional negotiator at Stitt Feld Handy Group in Toronto. He is adjunct professor at the University of Toronto Law School, and a lecturer at University of Windsor Law School, teaching courses in negotiation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

While obtaining his Harvard Law School degree, Allan studied negotiation and ADR with Professor Roger Fisher, Professor Frank Sander, and Bruce Patton. He subsequently completed advanced negotiation training at Harvard. Allan returned to Harvard on a number of occasions to act as a teaching assistant to Professor Fisher. Allan is past president of the ADR Institute of Canada, past president of the Arbitration and Mediation Institute of Canada, past president of the Arbitration and Mediation Institute of Ontario, and a past chair of the ADR Section of the Canadian Bar Association (Ontario). He has designed ADR systems for a number of organizations including the Canadian Bankers Association, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Law Society of Upper Canada, and Canadian Tire Corporation.

Michael Gibson is president of Zapdramatic, a wholly owned subsidiary of Stitt Feld Handy Group. Zapdramatic creates interactive dramatic simulations for the delivery of learning content over the web.

Prior to being ensnared in the World Wide Web, Michael wrote, directed, and produced many educational videos, including "Introduction to Mediation" and "Simmons Funeral Home" for Stitt Feld Handy Group. Michael's TV work includes the documentary series My Canada Includes Quebec, and the award winning shorts "The Bellringer" and "When Edgar Returns."

In 1990, Michael wrote, directed, and produced the feature film Defy Gravity, starring R.H. Thomson and Simon Reynolds.

Michael is an active member of the Writers Guild of Canada and the Academy of Canadian Cinema.

Elinor Whitmore is vice president of ADR at Stitt Feld Handy Group, where she practices as a mediator, negotiator, facilitator, professional coach, and ADR systems design consultant.

After earning her B.A. at Queen's University in 1987, Elinor received her LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the bar in 1992. In 1998, Elinor received an LL.M. in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Osgoode Hall Law School. Elinor has attended many workshops in dispute resolution including the Harvard Mediation Workshop; the Harvard Advanced Negotiation Workshop, Mediating Interpersonal Conflict Workshops offered by St. Stephen's Conflict Resolution Service; and Basic and Advanced Family Mediation workshops offered by the University of Toronto. Elinor also completed a mediation internship at the Ontario Court (Provincial Division). Prior to joining Stitt Feld Handy Group, Elinor practiced as a lawyer and mediator.

Elinor teaches the University of Windsor/Stitt Feld Handy Group ADR and advanced ADR workshops. Elinor also designs and teaches negotiation, mediation, and ADR workshops provided by Stitt Feld Handy Group to various organizations. She has designed and taught conflict resolution workshops in North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Elinor is a chartered mediator (C.Med.) who has mediated civil, commercial, employment, workplace, personal injury, breach of contract, and family disputes. She has also acted as a negotiation consultant in a variety of contexts.

Elinor is also a personal and professional coach. Elinor works one-on-one with clients who wish to attain a higher level of performance, learning, and satisfaction.

Relevance to Practice

As a dental hygienist you may at times have to engage in difficult conversations with your clients, co-workers, employers, colleagues, or other individuals in your professional and personal life. When discussing difficult issues, do you find it difficult to begin the conversation, to deliver your message clearly and powerfully without provoking the other person, to persuade difficult people, to manage strong emotions, or to discuss issues that take you by surprise? You may already be a good communicator, but you may like to improve your communication skills in difficult conversations to achieve better results and to be more effective in all areas of your life. This course will assist you in developing and improving your communication skills when involved in difficult conversations.

DISCLAIMER: Please note courses and on demand webinars cannot be completed on tablets and other mobile devices.