Tools for talking when stakes are high
By Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switsler
Reviewed: March 2008
I’ve been conducting more “conflict resolution” and individual coaching sessions of late. It seems there are more and more people experiencing difficulties in relationships, primarily because they lack basic effective communication tools. Crucial Conversations, while published in 2002, is one of those books that’s worth having on your shelf, not only as an immediate source of assistance in trying times, but also as a long-term reference resource.
The authors define a “crucial conversation” as a discussion between two or more people where 1) the stakes are high; 2) opinions vary; and 3) emotions run strong. Basically, we all have three choices when faced with a difficult or crucial conversation:
- We can avoid it
- We can face it and handle it poorly
- We can face it and handle it well
In this book, the authors then take us on a journey toward creating constructive crucial conversations. They talk about “adding to the meaning pool” rather than taking one of several popular subtle revenge paths: silence, avoidance, masking, controlling, attacking. They even have a survey of questions you can answer to determine your style of communication under stress.
With clear real-life examples, they offer concise guidelines when entering difficult dialogues. And they make the important point that “dialogue does not mean decision.” Many people confuse “talking” about the problem with acting on it.
Crucial Conversations presents some basic information in well-written manner and makes its points clearly and concisely. If you’re looking for help to have a hard conversation or simply an effective way to have any conversation, pick up this book.
Books Reviewed: Archives