Crucial Conversation is a 259 page book with 12 chapters that explains how best to manage conversations that affect critically the next phase of life or decision making process.
Many ‘defining’ moments in life come from having crucial conversations (as these create significant shifts in attitude and behavior).
This book focuses on techniques on how to hold such conversations in a positive space when surrounded by highly charged emotions.
Authored by: Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler
Our success in life is dictated by the quality of relationships we can engender. Some people seem better at negotiating better quality outcomes (for all) than others do – they work with people rather than through people. They are able to hold deeper, more honest conversations that create a new level of bonding and are able to transform people, situations and relationships.
When we let these conversations go by, we let standards slip and unwittingly give permission for unwanted behavior to continue.
Crucial conversations lie all around us – all the time: from performance appraisals at work, up to discussing problems over on relationships. The skills we need in the boardroom are the same skills we need in the bedroom.
How do you go about?
- Talking to a coworker who behaves offensively or makes suggestive comments,
- Talking to a team member who isn’t keeping commitments,
- Giving an unfavorable performance review.
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Every day, we are all in situations where the next thing we say is a decider.
Do you rather not say anything?
The book introduces a model having 7 essential steps to managing conversations.
1) Start with the heart (i.e. empathy and positive intent)
2) Stay in dialogue
3) Make it safe
4) Don’t get hooked by emotion (or hook them)
5) Agree a mutual purpose
6) Separate facts from story
7) Agree a clear action plan
If we approach the situation with the wrong emotions and mindset and enter a conversation in a place of anger, resentment and revenge (having already made up our mind about someone), it is unlikely to end the way we need it to. Instead, we have to start with a positive intent and good-will for the other person.
It’s difficult to change another person but easier to change yourself. So the first principle of dialogue is to start with ourselves.
1) Start with the heart
Where you come from dictates where you will get to.
How we discuss something is often the real issue rather than what we are discussing.
Thus we need to be in the right place ourselves and create the right space for the other person. So first we need to manage our emotions and mindset.
The book is an interesting read discussing practically how we can set our minds ready for conversations.
Furthermore, we need to maintain a place of mutual respect. Realistically the only way to remain in conversation is to be authentic.
Our verbal and non-verbal communication will play witness to the truth (something the other person will often unconsciously sense). But how do you feel respect for a person that we don’t respect?
Often feelings of disrespect come from focusing on what’s different from us.
Let’s take the second and then take a rest for today…
Finally on this;
2) Stay in dialogue
The key to critical conversations is to always stay in dialogue – If the lines of communication go down, then there is no hope for a resolution.
Only when we are talking can we get all the relevant information out in the open and this requires a 2 way flow of information.
Maintain the free flow of information….
You should get the book too.