Crucial Conversations Tools for talking when stakes are high
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We all know that feeling. Some issue or interaction is on our mind that we must discuss, yet we don’t know what to do or say. We contact our friends, our mentors and our bosses and try to figure out the best way to deal with it. Recently a close associated handed me a copy of “Crucial Conversations – Tools for Talking when Stakes are High” to read. This book will give you the courage and skills to prepare for these moments so that you can succeed. It was an easy to read book, with more than three clear actionable recommendations on how to ‘prepare’ for a “Crucial Conversation”.
Mark and Mike share with us that ‘feedback’ should be quick and frequent like breathing. They teach us the techniques of how to give feedback so that we are no longer afraid of it. This book teaches us how to deal with crucial issues that will rise up during systemic feedback or O3’s or when dealing with our boss or peers, and when the discussion last longer than one minute.
Published in 2002, and the techniques are still fresh as ever. It has seven key principle behaviors to follow that can help anyone improve their communication skills. No wonder the foreword is written by Stephen Covey Sr. These principles are all related to dealing with a crucial conversation. They allow the individual to be more aware of their feelings and the other person’s feelings before starting the conversation. They also give some background on how the brain reacts to fear. If we are not aware of when the tone of a discussion is escalating to a disagreement or argument, then we cannot prevent the breakdown of the dialogue
The Seven Key Principles are:
- Start with Heart
- Learn to Look
- Make it Safe
- Master My Story
- State My Path
- Explore Other’s Path
- Move to action
The authors use real and fictional stories to show the reader how to use their practices to successfully change one's crucial conversational skills. They also do a great summary at the end to show the reader how it all comes together. Finally, they even share ideas on how to practice each behavior by itself, so that you don’t have to try to apply everything all at once. By breaking it down this way, the author’s give the read more chances to achieve easy wins towards changing their crucial conversation behavior. The skill of being able to handle crucial conversations is a career differentiator.