Second Breaks: Navigating Difficult Conversations with Nancy Burger
October 27, 2022

“Stay in your lane. Your job is to present your points with respect and compassion. Not to anticipate the other person’s reaction.” — Nancy Burger

Who has not avoided having an important conversation because of fear — whether the conversation is with a loved one, a friend, a colleague, even a neighbor?

Often, we don’t do it because we don’t have the tools — we don’t know where and how to begin. We don’t have the words or the vocabulary to discuss an important topic. Sometimes, it’s because we’ve been burned in the past when a difficult conversation went awry.

Maybe I’m biased here, but I also feel like the older I get, the need to have these difficult or sensitive conversations aren’t decreasing. They feel like they’re multiplying!

We have to talk to our parents about their health or their care… and that’s a sensitive conversation no doubt about it. Talking to our young adult kids presents lots of potential landmines. Raising our changing expectations and needs at work can be tricky. And of course, there’s no shortage of sensitive topics to talk about with our significant other.

And just because we’re older doesn’t mean we’ve mastered the art of conducting difficult conversations. Sure, we have loads of experience under our belt. And some of us really have done massive work on this and have some tools to help navigate the fear in difficult conversations.

But we can always use more tools in this space.

And that’s why I’m thrilled to have Nancy Burger here on the show.


Nancy Burger is a communications strategist and coach who guides executives and teams to foster emotionally healthy cultures. A certified leadership coach, author, and seasoned researcher, Nancy brings her 10+ years of communications expertise and research in psychology to elevate workplace connections.

She works with C-suite executives, heads of HR & training/recruiting, managers, business owners, and team leaders across many industries. Nancy also delivers workshops and talks to universities, leadership organizations, and networking groups, all with the aim of cultivating clear, effective, and productive communication dynamics.

In this episode, Nancy and I peel back the curtain and explore the challenge many of us face when having difficult conversations.


  • How fear complicates difficult conversations
  • Why we don’t always catch the fear-based thoughts that are driving our decisions and actions
  • Setting the expectations of ourselves going into sensitive conversations
  • How to prepare for these sensitive conversations
  • And lastly this


The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk
Dr. Gabor Mate
Download “VOICE UP: Your 5-Step Guide to Having Difficult Conversations” from Nancy Burger’s website
Connect with Nancy Burger on LinkedIn
Connect with Lou Blaser on LinkedIn


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