Author

Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler

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4.6
Average: 4.6 (20 votes)

This review was submitted by jhbchina.

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.

Comments

craignkzoo's picture

Great review jhbchina, I especially like the way you tied it  to Manager Tools.

I have taken action on these principles and it is truly powerful stuff! I takes some work and practice, for sure. (just like anything worthwhile )

The authors have also written "Crucial Confrontations" also very good--perhaps i will review that.

Cheers

 

 

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cyhelm's picture

"Published in 2002, and the techniques are still fresh as ever." These techniques will always be fresh; they're timeless. I studied this in a clergy group a few years ago, and we still refer to it when discussing case studies (confidentially, of course; no names).

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vpoe4ever's picture

Before I discovered Manager Tools, I read Crucial Conversations and it revamped my approach to my professional and personal conversations.  I think it is a great addition to your toolkit in conjunction with Manager Tools.  HIghly recommend it to ANYONE who is interested in improving their communication skills.  (and, if you're listening to Manager Tools - you're interested.) 

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Kevin1's picture

My manager gave me this book to read a year ago.

I got a lot out of it as it gave me lots of useful tools to use when I needed to compromise. 

What I was still missing was some guidance as to WHEN to compromise. As a person with a High C component, I usually thought I was right and others were the ones who needed to compromise and do things the 'right' way.  How dumb I was.  It was looking for advice on WHEN I needed to compromise, that I found Manager Tools. 

 

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naraa's picture

I learned a lot from this book, and it has made management and life easier. I learned that rather than keep worrying about an issue, it is best to talk directly to the people involved but in a way that they can understand our good intentions and commitment. It is been a while since I read, but I do practice it, and something from the book that has stuck in my mind is: "bring people to safety first".

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contemplation101's picture

Thanks for the recommendation Mark & Mike!

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maureenwinningham's picture

I was first introduced to Crucial about 15 years ago at an overview Kerry Patterson gave to my Los Angeles training group.  I read the book and nodded a lot ("I do this...whoops.  I do this too!") And I realized I needed to change how I communicate and handle difficult conversations that have high stakes, strong emotion and opposing opinion.  Since then, I've used the techniques in my personal and professional life to great results.  I became a CC Trainer, have trained 3,000+ people across the globe and helped teach others the techniques of how to make their world a bit better...one Crucial Conversation at a time.

 

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