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Crucial Conversations Skills

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How Do You Communicate When the Stakes Are High? Learn how with these TWO GROUNDBREAKING BOOKS in ONE eBOOK PACKAGE! In any organization, the best laid plans boil down to one simple thing: how well we come together to bring them to fruition. But more often than not, we end up dealing with people who come across as disagreeable, stubborn, or even obstructive. And emotions How Do You Communicate When the Stakes Are High? Learn how with these TWO GROUNDBREAKING BOOKS in ONE eBOOK PACKAGE! In any organization, the best laid plans boil down to one simple thing: how well we come together to bring them to fruition. But more often than not, we end up dealing with people who come across as disagreeable, stubborn, or even obstructive. And emotions flare up. The only way to get things done is to step up to the plate . . . by stepping back from our emotions. Written by a team of experts from the world-renowned training firm VitalSmarts, these two books provide the skills you need to make every interaction fruitful and productive in even the most emotional situations. eBook package includes: "Crucial Conversations" The "New York Times" bestselling "Crucial Conversations" has sparked a revolution in how people communicate to achieve common goals. Now, the revised second edition builds on this decade-long legacy of success to get professionals at every level and in all professions talking "with" partners, bosses, employees, clients-not "at" them. Learn proven methods for turning the focus of hot-button discussions-job performance, customer satisfaction, interpersonal matters-away from subjective points of view and toward productive, mutually beneficial conclusions. "["Crucial Conversations"] draws our attention to those defining moments that literally shape our lives, our relationships, and our world. . . . This book deserves to take its place as one of the key thought leadership contributions of our time." -from the Foreword by Stephen R. Covey, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" "The quality of your life comes out of the quality of your dialogues and conversations. Here's how to instantly uplift your crucial conversations." -Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of the #1 "New York Times" bestselling series "Chicken Soup for the Soul"(r) "Crucial Confrontations" Behind the problems that routinely plague families, organizations, and teams are individuals who break promises, miss deadlines, or just plain behave badly. Anyone brave enough to confront these people head on usually does a poor job and creates a whole new set of problems. In "Crucial Confrontations," reveals research that proves just how costly this dynamic is: it saps 20 to 50 percent of performance from organizations and accounts for up to 90 percent of all divorces. "Crucial Confrontations" teaches you the skills to permanently resolve failed promises and missed deadlines, transform broken rules and bad behavior into productive accountability, and strengthen relationships while solving problems. "Unleash the true potential of a relationship or organization and move it to the next level. . . ." -Ken Blanchard, coauthor of "The One Minute Manager"(r) and "The Secret: What Great Leaders Know-and Do" "The most recommended and most effective resource in my library." -Stacey Allerton Firth, Vice President, Human Resources, Ford of Canada "Brilliant strategies for those difficult discussions at home and in the workplace. . . ." -Soledad O'Brien, former cohost of CNNs "Morning Edition" "This book is the real deal. . . . Read it, underline it, learn from it. Its a gem." -Mike Murray, VP Human Resources and Administration, Microsoft (retired)


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How Do You Communicate When the Stakes Are High? Learn how with these TWO GROUNDBREAKING BOOKS in ONE eBOOK PACKAGE! In any organization, the best laid plans boil down to one simple thing: how well we come together to bring them to fruition. But more often than not, we end up dealing with people who come across as disagreeable, stubborn, or even obstructive. And emotions How Do You Communicate When the Stakes Are High? Learn how with these TWO GROUNDBREAKING BOOKS in ONE eBOOK PACKAGE! In any organization, the best laid plans boil down to one simple thing: how well we come together to bring them to fruition. But more often than not, we end up dealing with people who come across as disagreeable, stubborn, or even obstructive. And emotions flare up. The only way to get things done is to step up to the plate . . . by stepping back from our emotions. Written by a team of experts from the world-renowned training firm VitalSmarts, these two books provide the skills you need to make every interaction fruitful and productive in even the most emotional situations. eBook package includes: "Crucial Conversations" The "New York Times" bestselling "Crucial Conversations" has sparked a revolution in how people communicate to achieve common goals. Now, the revised second edition builds on this decade-long legacy of success to get professionals at every level and in all professions talking "with" partners, bosses, employees, clients-not "at" them. Learn proven methods for turning the focus of hot-button discussions-job performance, customer satisfaction, interpersonal matters-away from subjective points of view and toward productive, mutually beneficial conclusions. "["Crucial Conversations"] draws our attention to those defining moments that literally shape our lives, our relationships, and our world. . . . This book deserves to take its place as one of the key thought leadership contributions of our time." -from the Foreword by Stephen R. Covey, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" "The quality of your life comes out of the quality of your dialogues and conversations. Here's how to instantly uplift your crucial conversations." -Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of the #1 "New York Times" bestselling series "Chicken Soup for the Soul"(r) "Crucial Confrontations" Behind the problems that routinely plague families, organizations, and teams are individuals who break promises, miss deadlines, or just plain behave badly. Anyone brave enough to confront these people head on usually does a poor job and creates a whole new set of problems. In "Crucial Confrontations," reveals research that proves just how costly this dynamic is: it saps 20 to 50 percent of performance from organizations and accounts for up to 90 percent of all divorces. "Crucial Confrontations" teaches you the skills to permanently resolve failed promises and missed deadlines, transform broken rules and bad behavior into productive accountability, and strengthen relationships while solving problems. "Unleash the true potential of a relationship or organization and move it to the next level. . . ." -Ken Blanchard, coauthor of "The One Minute Manager"(r) and "The Secret: What Great Leaders Know-and Do" "The most recommended and most effective resource in my library." -Stacey Allerton Firth, Vice President, Human Resources, Ford of Canada "Brilliant strategies for those difficult discussions at home and in the workplace. . . ." -Soledad O'Brien, former cohost of CNNs "Morning Edition" "This book is the real deal. . . . Read it, underline it, learn from it. Its a gem." -Mike Murray, VP Human Resources and Administration, Microsoft (retired)

30 review for Crucial Conversations Skills

  1. 4 out of 5

    carol.

    Dear Goodreads: A 'crucial conversation' is one that 1) opinions vary 2) stakes are high 3) parties involved have strong emotions. Sound familiar? What we have at Goodreads is a Crucial Conversation. Ways you don't succeed in a crucial conversation: 1) Allowing your emotion to dictate your dialogue. Specifically, an emotional need to "win" or be "right." 2) Believe the answer is the "fool's choice" of a yes/no, right/left solution. Ringing any bells? I can't state what the emotions of GR staff are right Dear Goodreads: A 'crucial conversation' is one that 1) opinions vary 2) stakes are high 3) parties involved have strong emotions. Sound familiar? What we have at Goodreads is a Crucial Conversation. Ways you don't succeed in a crucial conversation: 1) Allowing your emotion to dictate your dialogue. Specifically, an emotional need to "win" or be "right." 2) Believe the answer is the "fool's choice" of a yes/no, right/left solution. Ringing any bells? I can't state what the emotions of GR staff are right now, but they can't be positive ones. And we've all witnessed how official 'my way or the highway' belief in a new, unbroadcast Terms of Service is resulting in a notable downtick in GR activity. The authors of Crucial Conversations did a lot of studies discovering that people who are skilled at dialoguing during crucial conversations: 1) start with the heart, otherwise known as the self, by knowing what they want 2) they avoid the 'fool's choice' of the either/or solution and look for the 'and' 3) they are smart enough to clarify and know what they don't want 4) they ask their brain to try and solve the harder problem--which means the 'and' one, not the gut response one 5) they note what their behavior says, so that their body language/actions are in congruence with their words, thus lending believability to their words My Dear, dear Goodreads Customer Service, try this. I suggest you take these principles to heart. Know what you want. Do you want to 'win?' Do you want certain people to leave the site? Do you want a book-selling synergistic Kindle machine? Do you want to keep the hard-working librarians and reviewers who built this site material active and involved? Once you've asked these questions, you then need to ask if your body language and interactions are reflecting these goals. The authors state to set up a crucial conversation, the parties involved need to make it safe. What do you do when the conversation isn't going well and a party is acting defensively? You make it safe by: 1) Step out of the conversation 2) Determine what condition of safety is at risk? A mutual purpose or mutual respect? 3) Apologize if it is appropriate 4) Using contrasting skills to help fix misunderstandings, such as "I didn't intend to mean ___," then explain what you did intend/meant. 5) Create a mutual purpose This is how you can fix the exodus of mass numbers of librarians, reviewers, and most importantly, readers who are leaving your site. The crucial part of this list is, of course, the conversation. Note: I will add a genuine analytical review at another site when I finish. It really is an excellent book that I recommend to everyone. There's a few ethical and social limitations to it, but it does help have a high-stakes conversation and succeed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Ok, I read this because the boss suggested it. He suggested it because I don't deal well with overly emotional, crying, touchy feely people. I'm more of a "get the hell over it" kind of girl. The book is a jumbled up mess in the writing. It bounces from one example to the next, explains half a concept, jumps to another example, explains another part of a concept, and the might (or might not) get back to the original example. My guess is because it seems to have no less than 75 authors. Too many Ok, I read this because the boss suggested it. He suggested it because I don't deal well with overly emotional, crying, touchy feely people. I'm more of a "get the hell over it" kind of girl. The book is a jumbled up mess in the writing. It bounces from one example to the next, explains half a concept, jumps to another example, explains another part of a concept, and the might (or might not) get back to the original example. My guess is because it seems to have no less than 75 authors. Too many cooks in the kitchen. The conversation techniques are ones that everyone older than 10 should know anyway. Shut up, let the other person talk, repeat what they said, then respectfully make your point. If you can't do that, you shouldn't be in any kind of position of authority anyway. It was 250 pages of skipping around, stating basic civilized talking techniques. And no, I still don't want you sit and boo-hoo on my shoulder. Crying about things, especially at work, is just a waste of time, energy, and resources. Suck it up, Buttercup!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nancy G

    I teach this course and have found the skills and insights that people experience can be life-changing. This book will help you in your personal and professional relationships. Crucial Conversations is not about being confrontational, avoiding conflict, or getting your way. Its about how to help yourself and others stay in dialogue so you can get the results you want. Its about learning, finding the truth, and strengthening relationships.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Self-help books can be a tough sell. Crucial Conversations was given to everyone where I work as required reading. When given required self-help reading you may immediately make assumptions: • This is going to be cheesy • I don’t have any issues, so I won’t need this • This book will just waste my time • Etc., etc., etc. However, I can confidently say that Crucial Conversations will help direct the reader toward successful and meaningful conversations at both work and in your daily life. Do you Self-help books can be a tough sell. Crucial Conversations was given to everyone where I work as required reading. When given required self-help reading you may immediately make assumptions: • This is going to be cheesy • I don’t have any issues, so I won’t need this • This book will just waste my time • Etc., etc., etc. However, I can confidently say that Crucial Conversations will help direct the reader toward successful and meaningful conversations at both work and in your daily life. Do you frequently find yourself in arguments? Are you frustrated that it seems like people are not listening to you? Are you a leader but you feel like you get no respect from your direct reports? This book will give you some great tips on how to approach any conversation, even if the situation seems hopeless. I have already started to try and use the tips I learned in this book (even to reply to commenters on Goodreads!) You don’t really need to sit down and read this book cover to cover to get some great tips. Picking it up and just skimming the bullet points will help even the best conversationalist improve. Also, if you encounter this book in a work setting, your employer may also provide a day long accompanying course to help with the material. Crucial Conversations is not a self-help book to scoff at. Some of the situations used may be a bit cheesy, but it will not waste your time and you may find you need it more than you think!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book has valuable information, but the reader has to dig for it. I'm not impressed with the editing job; I think the editor could have helped bring more clarity to the discussion. They come up with a lot of jargon that you have to remember throughout the book ("Start with Heart," "Clever Stories," etc) and keeping track of their key words and phrases makes the learning process more difficult. That said, I believe there are useful tools in the book (some exercises are similar to This book has valuable information, but the reader has to dig for it. I'm not impressed with the editing job; I think the editor could have helped bring more clarity to the discussion. They come up with a lot of jargon that you have to remember throughout the book ("Start with Heart," "Clever Stories," etc) and keeping track of their key words and phrases makes the learning process more difficult. That said, I believe there are useful tools in the book (some exercises are similar to Cognitive-Behavioral therapy), and I think it is worth the read and worth the effort to extract and organize the useful bits of information. This should have been much more tightly edited.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    It seems like every business book nowadays has a foreword by Stephen R. Covey. It’s almost like – if he didn’t endorse it - it’s not worth reading. This book is not an easy read like Leadership and Self-Deception, Who Moved My Cheese, or The Myth of Multitasking. It is however worth reading because it has many gems and pearls of wisdom along the way. A few of them I already knew: Remember, to know and not do is really not to know. – p. xvi “He that complies against his will is of his own opinion It seems like every business book nowadays has a foreword by Stephen R. Covey. It’s almost like – if he didn’t endorse it - it’s not worth reading. This book is not an easy read like Leadership and Self-Deception, Who Moved My Cheese, or The Myth of Multitasking. It is however worth reading because it has many gems and pearls of wisdom along the way. A few of them I already knew: Remember, to know and not do is really not to know. – p. xvi “He that complies against his will is of his own opinion still.” – Samuel Butler p. 23 A few startled me as I read them because I realized they are problems I have but never noticed: Do you hold in ugly opinions only to have them tumble out as sarcastic remarks or cheap shots? – p. 13 Labeling is putting a label on people or ideas so we can dismiss them under a general stereotype or category. – p. 53 By employing a handy label, we are now dealing not with a complex human being, but with a bonehead. – p. 108 Some were very humorous: Individually smart people can do collectively stupid things. – p. 22 If others would only change then we’d all live happily ever after. – p. 29 Some felt like ancient proverbs that had been modernized: “Lord, help me forgive those who sin differently than I.” – p. 72 Respect is like air. If you take it away, it’s all people can think about. The instant people perceive disrespect in a conversation, the interaction in no longer about the original purpose – it is now about defending dignity. – p. 71 When you feel a measure of respect for the other person, you’re ready to begin. – p. 195 You and only you create your emotions. – p. 94 And of course – there are the rest of the quotes I loved that don’t fit in a prior category: Most people have trouble pulling themselves away from the tractor beam of the argument at hand. –p. 55 When you tell a “Victim Story” you ignore the role you played in the problem…you speak of nothing but your noble motives. – p. 107 We cite information that supports our ideas while hiding or discrediting anything that doesn’t. – p. 138 Our honest passion kills the argument rather than supports it. – p. 139 Back off your harsh and conclusive language, not your belief. – p. 140 Don’t pretend to consult – p. 168 When you find yourself saying “All right, we’ll never agree so let’s vote” you’re copping out. – p. 171 Nothing is quite so annoying as having someone agree on a choice (their second choice perhaps) and then cry “I told you so!” when it doesn’t work out. – 173 People often assume that trust is something you have or don’t have…Trust doesn’t have to be universally offered. In truth, it’s usually offered in degrees and is very topic specific. – p. 200

  7. 4 out of 5

    WhatIReallyRead (Anna)

    THE GOOD - the book had some pretty good advice, really not much I could have argued with - it was indeed quite specific, and described real conversational tools, as stated in the title - it had lots of examples - it's pretty short and easy to read So in a sense, I recommend it. THE BAD 1) too much self-promo. Five times or so throughout the book they mentioned some super-exclusive very interesting content that's available at this link. Of course, I went there to check it out. Surprise, surprise, I THE GOOD - the book had some pretty good advice, really not much I could have argued with - it was indeed quite specific, and described real conversational tools, as stated in the title - it had lots of examples - it's pretty short and easy to read So in a sense, I recommend it. THE BAD 1) too much self-promo. Five times or so throughout the book they mentioned some super-exclusive very interesting content that's available at this link. Of course, I went there to check it out. Surprise, surprise, I had to fill out a giant form with my work email, corporation, my position in it etc. to receive that content. Also, that page advertised corporate training of the author's methods. I mean, how come people who wrote a book about COMMUNICATION don't know any better than to use aggressive and annoying marketing practicesin their own work? Can't they see how off-putting it is? How it discredits everything else they say? I live in freaking Ukraine, I'm not going to buy your corporate training, so leave me alone!!! They also had these "real-life examples from readers" sections which were 90% "oh Crucial conversations is awesome!! It helped me a lot!! Everything was bad and now it's good! And their corporate training is great too!!" And absolutely nothing helpful or specific, just praise. 2) repetitiveness. The authors made sure to drive their points home. Not a bad thing, but I think this short book could have been half its size. 3) too much set-up: a prologue, preface, foreword, introduction, and afterword by each of the authors? Too much if you ask me! Just get to your point! 4) nothing new. Though as I've said before I couldn't argue with their advice, I also didn't learn anything new and was bored at times. It all boiled down to this: - don't be a passive-aggressive jerk - don't be an aggressive jerk - don't ignore the elephant in the room - don't assume the purpose of everyone else's existence is to serve you I mean, sure. So in a way, I don't recommend this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Probably the most influential book I've read in the past five years. The concepts have probably been around for a long time, but this was my first exposure to them. I'm still learning how to do the things mentioned here, but it really has helped me shift the way I think about others. The authors have a web site with a lot of great stuff in it, and their monthly-ish newsletter is one I actually read! NOTE: I haven't actually re-read it since I first got it, so this is a review of impact and Probably the most influential book I've read in the past five years. The concepts have probably been around for a long time, but this was my first exposure to them. I'm still learning how to do the things mentioned here, but it really has helped me shift the way I think about others. The authors have a web site with a lot of great stuff in it, and their monthly-ish newsletter is one I actually read! NOTE: I haven't actually re-read it since I first got it, so this is a review of impact and content, not of writing style.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sheherazahde

    I love this book! It changed my life and I recommend it to everyone. One of the major problems that has plagued me all my life was becoming too emotional when things were important to me. This book has helped me recognize that I was getting upset and helped me deal with my emotions so I could come back to the conversations from a calmer place. The book is written in simple language with lots of repetition and stories to make it easy to read and understand. The authors also use a lot of acronyms I love this book! It changed my life and I recommend it to everyone. One of the major problems that has plagued me all my life was becoming too emotional when things were important to me. This book has helped me recognize that I was getting upset and helped me deal with my emotions so I could come back to the conversations from a calmer place. The book is written in simple language with lots of repetition and stories to make it easy to read and understand. The authors also use a lot of acronyms to help people remember what to do. Some of the reviews have complained about this. I have no complaints on this issue. The book is intended to accessible to low level readers. There are some areas where I don't feel they were simplistic or clear enough. I made myself flash cards of the basic principles to use during group discussion to keep myself on track. I didn't find chapters #9 or #11 very helpful. I expected more practical advice on "moving to action" and "putting it all together". But just looking at the table of contents reminds me off all the skills and tools I need to keep a productive discussion from becoming a heated argument. I wish they had an even more simplistic version of this book intended for teenagers. These are the sorts of emotion regulating skills teenagers could really benefit from. I buy copies of this book to give to my friends. I know that giving other people a self-help book is rarely helpful but I just hope if there are enough copies of this book floating around out there more people will read it and become better at discussing instead of fighting or withdrawing. The more information in the pool of shared knowledge the better!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    This book has all the ingredients one needs to improve one's interactions when one is stuck in cycles of rage or disagreement. It has remarkably similar prescriptions to other readings I have done on the subject on how to manage in a tense conversation in which one must come to some reasonable agreement. If everyone read a book like this once or twice in their lifetimes we might actually move the evolution ball down the court in a significant way. I wonder if in fact our politicians have had a This book has all the ingredients one needs to improve one's interactions when one is stuck in cycles of rage or disagreement. It has remarkably similar prescriptions to other readings I have done on the subject on how to manage in a tense conversation in which one must come to some reasonable agreement. If everyone read a book like this once or twice in their lifetimes we might actually move the evolution ball down the court in a significant way. I wonder if in fact our politicians have had a look. They seem determined to regress.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Silvert

    Crucial Conversations tackles one of the most difficult subjects in human relationships: How to navigate difficult conversations when 1) the stakes are high 2)opinions are at opposite ends, and 3) when emotions are charged. This book is so filled with insights and strategies, I had to read it twice and nearly use up two highlighters. At it’s core, the authors recommend asking yourself three critical questions before engaging in a difficult conversation: What do I want for myself? What do I want Crucial Conversations tackles one of the most difficult subjects in human relationships: How to navigate difficult conversations when 1) the stakes are high 2)opinions are at opposite ends, and 3) when emotions are charged. This book is so filled with insights and strategies, I had to read it twice and nearly use up two highlighters. At it’s core, the authors recommend asking yourself three critical questions before engaging in a difficult conversation: What do I want for myself? What do I want for others? What do I want for the relationship? From here the authors offer a number of tools for navigating the rough seas of emotional volatility that often derails important discussions or prevents them from taking place at all. CRIB: 1. Committing to seek a mutual purpose 2. Recognizing the purpose behind the strategy 3. Invent a mutual purpose 4. Brainstorm new strategies Once the conditions have been established for a crucial conversation: Use STATE to approach sensitive subjects. 1. Share your facts 2. Tell your story 3. As for others’ paths 4. Talk tentatively 5. Encourage testing But Crucial Conversations goes way beyond acronyms and strategies. At it’s core, the book dives deep into the human condition under duress. Each of the strategies listed put richly in the context of why people react and protect the way they do. This gives each strategy a depth of understanding that is uncommon in what is otherwise presented as a business book. Highly recommended.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Parthiban Sundaram

    Two years ago I joined a large firm as a software developer to develop a business application. I was very excited as the opportunities were enormous and the growth potential was literally sky high. But the excitement did not last long. For, within a month of my work there, my manager kept making a series of decisions that were, well, simply unpalatable to me! These decisions frustrated me tremednously and what's worse - these disagreements seemed to be the norm rather than an exception. I, Two years ago I joined a large firm as a software developer to develop a business application. I was very excited as the opportunities were enormous and the growth potential was literally sky high. But the excitement did not last long. For, within a month of my work there, my manager kept making a series of decisions that were, well, simply unpalatable to me! These decisions frustrated me tremednously and what's worse - these disagreements seemed to be the norm rather than an exception. I, quietly in my heart, disagreed to every one of the decisions he made. In the team meetings, I would raise my concerns as softly as possible taking every precaution not to say anything that would make him angry. He would dismiss - ruthlessly and heartlessly, as it seemed to me at that time, - my opinions and would enforce his own opinions as team's decisions. The team members were not as directly affected by the decisions as me, and I alone felt like a victim. I raged and fumed internally. All I could think of was what a villain my boss was! How could he force his decisions down my throat like that! How could he be so brutal! I lacked courage to bring up the issues again after the decisions were made and have been communicated publicly. So, the only options available were to quit the job or to accept the decisions. My entire body revolted against the decisions when I thought of them. That's how strongly I felt against those decisions! However, I cannot quit the job given my situation at the time. So, I stayed with the job, never accepted the decisions and fought against them silently. I began to hate my work since I worked on something that was against my core values. So, naturally, going to work stopped being fun. From then on, for every decision we had to make, I did not contribute my thoughts or opinions. I let my manager decide and silently resented the decisions. What is wrong in this story? Was my boss really a villain? Was I really a victim? My boss was not a villain. I was not perfect either. The fact is that we messed up our "crucial" conversations. A conversation becomes a crucial conversation when opinions vary, when emotions run high and when the stakes are high. It is in our best interests to we carry on with a crucial conversation using our best capabilities since the stakes are high but unfortunately we behave our worst and ruin the outcome. We behave our worst when the conversations turn crucial - we turn violent and attack people or grow silent and sulk. So, how to take control of a crucial conversation? Read the book "Crucial Conversations" by Kerry Patterson, et al. http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-Convers... 401946 Crucial conversations happen everywhere - at work, in our personal lives, at our community meetings, etc., etc. The outcomes from these conversations impact our lives - more or less. So, we should be ready. It is one of the best self-help books I have ever read. It is simply an eye-opener! You should/must/have to read it! :-) Let me know if you liked the book!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I wasn't highly impressed with this book, I certainly don't recommend reading it via an e-reader. Perhaps it would have been more digestable and useful if I had purchased a physical copy of the book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shahine Ardeshir

    Very rarely have I come across so sensible, articulate and powerful a book, particularly from the “Business/Self Help” genre. The premise of this book is simple: Each of us, in all relationships in and outside of work that we conduct, face situations in which there is considerable gravitas attached to the outcome. Often, we behave less than we’re capable of in these circumstances, to unpleasant result. These are critical conversations, and there’s a certain skill to conducting them well. The Very rarely have I come across so sensible, articulate and powerful a book, particularly from the “Business/Self Help” genre. The premise of this book is simple: Each of us, in all relationships in and outside of work that we conduct, face situations in which there is considerable gravitas attached to the outcome. Often, we behave less than we’re capable of in these circumstances, to unpleasant result. These are critical conversations, and there’s a certain skill to conducting them well. The timing of my reading ‘Critical Conversations’ could not have been more apt. In the recent past, I’ve had conversations at work, at home with my partner and over the phone with my best friend that have not gone the way I would have liked. And reading this book resulted in a lot of deep reflection on understanding why that happened, and examination of what I could have done better. A few misnomers need to be addressed here. - No, this is not a soppy “Oh, you should always try harder” kind of book. It’s not one bit mushy - every point made ties into practical, measurable application in the real world. - Nor is it one strictly applicable to corporate business executives or the work context per se. It has equal applicability to how you're communicating with a family member, a neighbour or a friend. - It is the outcome of rigorous grounded research, over many years, leading to some broad conclusions on why these situations tend to occur, and how you personally and as a member of the larger group or relationship, can respond more productively. It's not the opinion of the authors, it's grounded in fact. The best part about this read is that the language is simple, the tone is honest without being patronizing or commandeering, and the basic content makes a hell of a lot of a sense. I would go as far as to suggest that ANYONE who’s reading this review should go out and buy a copy, today. Who among us doesn’t have relationships, either professional or personal? And who among us is a master communicator, always able to obtain the best results possible out of a conversation? Maybe this book won’t solve your problems, but it’ll lend some much-needed perspective, trust me. In sum: One of the singularly best books I have read in recent times, without a doubt.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Vance

    How do you deal with conflict? I tend to avoid it. That’s just how I’ve been wired for a long time. Avoidance isn’t inherently bad, as it can give me time to work out problems or calm down before saying something out of place, but it can be exhausting, as I’ll mull things over without trying to solve the problem. This once got me in trouble with substance abuse because I was trying to avoid reality. Now that I can identify the avoidant part of my personality, I can start trying to make it work How do you deal with conflict? I tend to avoid it. That’s just how I’ve been wired for a long time. Avoidance isn’t inherently bad, as it can give me time to work out problems or calm down before saying something out of place, but it can be exhausting, as I’ll mull things over without trying to solve the problem. This once got me in trouble with substance abuse because I was trying to avoid reality. Now that I can identify the avoidant part of my personality, I can start trying to make it work better for me. Part of learning about it to help deal with it is reading books. The latest book was Crucial Conversations. The authors do a great job of explaining their position and providing examples. My take from their work is that during conflict I must identify my emotions so I can understand how to best deal with an issue in a crucial conversation. While it seems elementary, it has been life changing for me in a short period. Much of this book ties in with a recent book I read called Radical Candor. I recommend both, but I would suggest reading Crucial Conversation first. I give it 5 stars, and hope to continue to learn from the many lessons in this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ying Ying

    This is a book that offers tools to help you get what you want in crucial moments of your life. The authors aimed not at writing about communications, but at helping you achieve goals in key interactions. I liked that the book is easily digestible. Each chapter can be read in about 10-15 minutes, with summaries at the end. The concluding chapter wraps up all concepts very nicely with a table that summarizes all the principles, skills and questions to ask that were introduced throughout the book. This is a book that offers tools to help you get what you want in crucial moments of your life. The authors aimed not at writing about communications, but at helping you achieve goals in key interactions. I liked that the book is easily digestible. Each chapter can be read in about 10-15 minutes, with summaries at the end. The concluding chapter wraps up all concepts very nicely with a table that summarizes all the principles, skills and questions to ask that were introduced throughout the book. Snippets of real life conversations illustrate how to apply these tools (e.g. STATE my path, ABCs). On the other hand, tools are not magic bullets. In the afterword of the enhanced edition, Ron (one of the authors) shares that while these tools might not guarantee that each of your conversations turn out successful, with time, the persistent application of such well-founded principles can increase your chances of getting what you want. While the techniques discussed are nothing from the other world, the book is a quick read that equips you with tools that might be useful at some point in your life. As such, I recommend this book to anyone interested in self-improvement and soft skills.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    I started writing a long review that went into great detail about why I found this book a waste of paper. I’m shocked that this book sold two dozen copies, let along two million. Then I remembered a comment one of the author’s made in their acknowledgements section and decided that much more succinctly summed up this book’s many problems: namely, how many people came up to him and told him they own this book but have never read it. That right there tells you how this book became a bestseller – I started writing a long review that went into great detail about why I found this book a waste of paper. I’m shocked that this book sold two dozen copies, let along two million. Then I remembered a comment one of the author’s made in their acknowledgements section and decided that much more succinctly summed up this book’s many problems: namely, how many people came up to him and told him they own this book but have never read it. That right there tells you how this book became a bestseller – because it’s the sort of book that gets recommended at management conferences and by HR departments (which, if true, is awful because the authors’ attitudes towards workplace harassment are problematic), and people are either told to or forced to buy it. I would like to think that, if more people took the time to read Crucial Conversations, it would not be a bestseller. Maybe these guys give great seminars. Totally possible. But this book is a skip. Frankly, I learned more about navigating tough conversations when I was given a one-day training session for managing a big corporate coffee shop. For those looking for a book on this subject, let me recommend Thanks for the Feedback. While it tackles a slightly different subject, I found its advice and suggestions regarding interpersonal relations much more useful. NOT recommended.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sridhar

    One of the amazing books I have read in recent times. Unlike many books, this book pinpoints the exact mistakes and reasons people make in high-stress conversations. Considering that many meetings these days are high-stress (time-pressures, market-pressures, customer complaints and so on), this book is a game-changer. What makes this book wonderful is that tells you to change your Inner Game to be able to practice it. The tools the authors propose are not "fake-smile" type add-ons, but require a One of the amazing books I have read in recent times. Unlike many books, this book pinpoints the exact mistakes and reasons people make in high-stress conversations. Considering that many meetings these days are high-stress (time-pressures, market-pressures, customer complaints and so on), this book is a game-changer. What makes this book wonderful is that tells you to change your Inner Game to be able to practice it. The tools the authors propose are not "fake-smile" type add-ons, but require a fundamental understanding of how emotions are inseparable from our behavior. Another excellent book that I completed recently, "Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate" by Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro, also speaks a lot about managing your emotions during negotiations. But this book is, somehow, more personal and touches you deeper. I am getting copies of this book to give away to my friends and close colleagues - that should give you an idea of how much I enjoyed this book!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sepideh R

    pretty smooth, not so long, useful, and practical. Here are some lines that I enjoyed: - "It is an amazing but true thing that practically the only people who ever say mean, insulting, wounding things to us are those of our own households. " - "Others don't make you mad, you make you mad. you make you scared, annoyed or insulted. You and only you create your emotions. " - "It's important to get in touch with your feelings, and to do so, you may want to expand your emotional vocabulary." - " When it pretty smooth, not so long, useful, and practical. Here are some lines that I enjoyed: - "It is an amazing but true thing that practically the only people who ever say mean, insulting, wounding things to us are those of our own households. " - "Others don't make you mad, you make you mad. you make you scared, annoyed or insulted. You and only you create your emotions. " - "It's important to get in touch with your feelings, and to do so, you may want to expand your emotional vocabulary." - " When it comes to regaining your trust, don't set the bar too high. Just try to trust them in the moment, not across all issues."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Britany

    Good concepts, but content ended up coming across pretty dull. I found myself setting this down and not wanting to pick it back up again. I'm beginning to think that I actually do not enjoy "self help" books. Just feel like watered down textbooks that I feel like could be summed up in a MUCH shorter essay! Get to the point already!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Antoinette Perez

    I don't know if I can write a purely objective review, as though my brain were wiped clean of everything I know about conversations. The book that caught my eyes and my heart was Fierce Conversations, and both Fierce and Crucial cover the territory of conversations. But they do so quite differently, and which book helps each person more is first probably a matter of taste. Crucial is written in a very familiar business non-fiction style: two shades more friendly than an academic textbook, but I don't know if I can write a purely objective review, as though my brain were wiped clean of everything I know about conversations. The book that caught my eyes and my heart was Fierce Conversations, and both Fierce and Crucial cover the territory of conversations. But they do so quite differently, and which book helps each person more is first probably a matter of taste. Crucial is written in a very familiar business non-fiction style: two shades more friendly than an academic textbook, but still largely impersonal. The extensive bullet point lists of steps, stages, and phases, with a number of acronyms in between (STATE, AMPP, ABC, etc.) lend to the feeling that conversations get dissected, analyzed, and planned, from start to finish. So it's puzzling that after all this content, which I frankly found difficult and cumbersome to wade through, the authors admit (this being a 10-th anniversary edition) that most people don't read the whole book and simply get value from the re-framing of conversations that the authors challenge us to do in the first few pages. They admit that it is difficult, if not impossible, to remember all the steps they teach us in the heat of a crucial conversation, and that two points above all will help guide us when real life, outside the book, happens. OK. The style conundrum sorted itself out for me when I realized that this book has not one, not two, but FOUR authors -- and you don't hear a single human voice until the Afterword, when each of the authors gets to write a first-person account of lessons learned since the first publication. Then you get some humor, some poignancy, some authenticity -- all things that I was missing and sorely needed during the other 200 or so pages of the book. After the style issue, I did have some content concerns and questions. Does the term "crucial conversations" and its ensuing explanations suggest that there are only some conversations (the implication is "hopefully only a few dreaded crucial conversations") that deserve our best, most purposeful efforts? I wouldn't say that every single conversation I have with every single person, every day, requires me to show up in full -- but you can bet that I see improvement in my quality of life when I am present and real in as many conversations as possible with those who are important to me. There's also a step in Crucial Conversations in which the initiator is instructed to speak tentatively so as to create more safety for the other person, i.e. "I could be wrong, but..." If I really don't feel like I could be wrong, it feels disingenuine to say this. The authors address this by saying, essentially, well, you could be wrong so that isn't untrue. Then, the authors come back later to clarify that there is a difference between coming across weak and creating safety for the other person in the conversation. This is probably a sticky point in general, and I think I understand the approach -- I just don't agree with it. It does nothing to model authenticity in the conversation when we aren't being true to ourselves. I do believe we can broach difficult conversations with grace, tact, respect, compassion, and love, but that aspect of Crucial Conversations doesn't click for me. Above all, I prefer the underlying message in Fierce that being real and authentic in our conversations should be an everyday practice, not limited to special occasions or extenuating circumstances.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Srivatsan Sridharan

    Yes, it is a self-help book. And like all self-help books, the authors of Crucial Conversations do try to push this into your face that their book will revolutionize your life. But if you get past all the hardball selling and brainwashing, you'll realize that there are gems of very beautiful, sane and thought-provoking advice in the book. The key to appreciating this book is to relate it with your own life experiences. If you read it superficially to pass the time, it will seem like bore. But if Yes, it is a self-help book. And like all self-help books, the authors of Crucial Conversations do try to push this into your face that their book will revolutionize your life. But if you get past all the hardball selling and brainwashing, you'll realize that there are gems of very beautiful, sane and thought-provoking advice in the book. The key to appreciating this book is to relate it with your own life experiences. If you read it superficially to pass the time, it will seem like bore. But if you spend the time and effort to read through the various "tools" and conduct thought experiments in your head ("had I said X instead of Y, would my relationship with A been better?"), you begin to realize that those "tools" do make a lot of sense. Now that I think about it, I don't think the authors lie when they say that this book will revolutionize your life. If you can manage your crucial conversations well by incorporating the advice that this book offers, you most certainly can. Ahem, have I already been brainwashed?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Yoak

    This book was wonderful. It's probably the best communication book that I've read since The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense, and probably the one that could provide me with the most value of any that I've read. The book thoughtfully covers what makes conversations crucial, and discusses the nature of dialog, what gets in the way of dialog, and how to overcome those challenges. One caution: I read most books in audio, and this book so captivated me that when I started it in audio, I finished that This book was wonderful. It's probably the best communication book that I've read since The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense, and probably the one that could provide me with the most value of any that I've read. The book thoughtfully covers what makes conversations crucial, and discusses the nature of dialog, what gets in the way of dialog, and how to overcome those challenges. One caution: I read most books in audio, and this book so captivated me that when I started it in audio, I finished that way in my car. It is one of those books that warrants careful reading with notes. I'll revisit it that way. I'd recommend others read in print, or at least not while driving so that you can give it thoughtful study.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Josh Utterback

    I had to read this for work and it was a total waste of time. The skills presented are all common sense. For all of their concepts they come up with mnemonics to help you remember. However, there are so many of them you can't keep straight which one is for what and what the letters actually mean. Finally, the examples were forced and completely unrealistic. Real people don't talk or act like their examples. The one I loved the most was the wife who thought her husband was cheating on her because I had to read this for work and it was a total waste of time. The skills presented are all common sense. For all of their concepts they come up with mnemonics to help you remember. However, there are so many of them you can't keep straight which one is for what and what the letters actually mean. Finally, the examples were forced and completely unrealistic. Real people don't talk or act like their examples. The one I loved the most was the wife who thought her husband was cheating on her because of a charge to a motel on their credit card. Because of these techniques they were able to determine that the motel was owned by the same person that owns a Chinese restaurant and their marriage was saved. What!?! Don't bother reading this if you can avoid it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Justin Gravitt

    This book was extremely strong on content, but it felt like the text dragged on and on. The examples were on point, but could have been shortened. The principles were well expressed, but again needn't be so long. I'd recommend this book for the content alone, but be prepared to skim sections once you have an understanding of the principles.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Farnoosh Brock

    Truly one of the most practical and brilliant business books, and this from someone who loathes the average "New York Times best-selling business book!". This book offers deep insights into the human psyche around relationships and interactions, communications and relating to one another and the world of things that can go wrong - that does go wrong - on a daily basis. It applies to your relationship with your boss, business colleagues, partner, spouse, co-worker, friends, and your entire Truly one of the most practical and brilliant business books, and this from someone who loathes the average "New York Times best-selling business book!". This book offers deep insights into the human psyche around relationships and interactions, communications and relating to one another and the world of things that can go wrong - that does go wrong - on a daily basis. It applies to your relationship with your boss, business colleagues, partner, spouse, co-worker, friends, and your entire ecosystem. If you want something, you need to be able to communicate it. If you don't want something, you must be able to say it and every interaction has consequences. Do you want to keep the relationship? Do you want to be liked, trusted, loved, adored and still firm in your views? Or do you want to stay in the constant prison of power struggle, victim mindset, false stories and breakdown of communication with roller coaster of emotions? I've already started using the tools in Crucial Conversations with my spouse. Right now, I'm happy to say that my relationship is in a very good place, but as I read the book, I reflected on years of misunderstandings and jumping to conclusions and seeing where I would often take the doomed route to nowhere, rather than the safe and smart path to a place of mutual understanding, trust and love. So I've started applying these principles and teaching my husband how to look for signs and how to communicate to me when he feels unsafe or unhappy in a conversation, or as the authors put it, when "dialogue" stops, because when you step out of dialogue, all breaks down, so the goal is to stay in dialogue when stakes are high, when emotions are strong. Another great tool you learn in this book is to state the mutual purpose and draw from that to bring yourself and the other person to the same side. As you begin the process, you can create safety and trust by doing this very early on. If you believe that communication is at the heart of getting things done, building relationships, creating an impact, as I do, then this is one of the BEST books on communication when stakes are high, and if you are able to have a powerful crucial conversation, if you can train yourself to do this with the help of the amazing techniques in this book, then you have a rare gift that helps you in all areas of life. I've started recommending this book and even sending it to my clients, and teaching the principles in my coaching sessions. It is even worth a re-read. Highly recommended.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ilse Niemeyer

    I found the writing pretentious and annoying. The advice is sound, but the authors spend so much time telling you how great the book is and throwing strange code names for things that don't need code names at you (ie "sell outs"...what?) that the message loses its potency.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mario Tomic

    Simply awesome and life changing, goes straight to my top 5 all time favorites! I wish I had read this book years ago.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    I rated this book two stars not because I think it’s an objectively bad book or contains bad advice, but because I personally didn’t find most of it very helpful. My favorite parts were chapters 7 and 8, which I think had useful advice for how to share your views while also leaving room for the other person to share theirs, and what to do if you want to hear the other person’s perspective but they’re not volunteering it. The biggest complaint I had was that most of the actual scripts in the book I rated this book two stars not because I think it’s an objectively bad book or contains bad advice, but because I personally didn’t find most of it very helpful. My favorite parts were chapters 7 and 8, which I think had useful advice for how to share your views while also leaving room for the other person to share theirs, and what to do if you want to hear the other person’s perspective but they’re not volunteering it. The biggest complaint I had was that most of the actual scripts in the book sounded fake or awkward to me, or were just things I couldn’t imagine myself saying. I kept comparing it mentally to the Ask A Manager blog, which I like a lot. The scripts at AAM usually sound really natural and reasonable, even though the author is giving advice about tough situations. I also find the detailed advice at Ask A Manager, which is tailored to specific, real scenarios, more helpful than general principles to follow. Often I feel like general advice doesn’t help me much because I need specific examples to see how it applies. The examples in this book usually felt fake, exaggerated, or over-simplified.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    From the Forward message at the beginning "To KNOW and not to DO is really to not to know". Crucial Conversation: A discussion between 2 or more people where (1) stakes are high (2) opinions vary (3) emotions run strong. CH 1) tells you why your body reacts the way it does when faced with a heated moment. Someone says something you disagree with, this happens: two tiny organs atop your kidneys pump adrenaline into your bloodstream. Your brain then diverts blood from activities it deems From the Forward message at the beginning "To KNOW and not to DO is really to not to know". Crucial Conversation: A discussion between 2 or more people where (1) stakes are high (2) opinions vary (3) emotions run strong. CH 1) tells you why your body reacts the way it does when faced with a heated moment. Someone says something you disagree with, this happens: two tiny organs atop your kidneys pump adrenaline into your bloodstream. Your brain then diverts blood from activities it deems nonessential to high-priority tasks. As the large muscles of the arms and legs get more blood, the higher-level reasoning sections of your brain gets less. When your spouse has to work late a lot and you try to figure out how to spend time with them but they can't break free, initial reaction is to get snippy. "Your behavior is now actually creating the very thing you didn't want in the first place." You get caught in an unhealthy self-defeating loop. Research has shown that strong relationships, careers, organizations, and communities all draw from the same source of power - the ability to talk openly about high-stakes, emotional, controversial topics. Silence Kills. Ex, when nurses notice something a Dr does that is wrong and say nothing. When people don't speak up or speak out, it can kill. The key to real change lies not in implementing a new process, but in getting people to hold one another accountable to the process CH 2: "the mistake most of us make in our crucial conversations is we believe that we have to choose between telling the truth and keeping a friend" "Dialogue" - The free flow of meaning between two or more people. *Skilled people find a way to get all relevant info out into the open. CH 3) work on me first: the first steps to achieving the results we really want is to fix the problem of believing that others are the source of all that ails us. * "the best Way to work on US is to work on ME first." * FIRST: ask yourself "what do I really want" do not attack back * Remember that the only person you can directly control is yourself. * refocus your brain - Find your bearings - Take charge of your body * Second: Refuse the fools choice. -watch to see if you're telling YOURSELF u must choose between winning and losing. ASK YOURSELF, WHAT DO I WANT FOR MYSELF, THIS PERSON , AND THE RELATIONSHIP? * Would I behave this way if I really wanted it? CH 4) Learn To Look. *Watch the content of the convo (topic under discussion) along with the conditions (how people are reacting. *Watch for 2 conditions: the moment a convo turns crucial, signs people don't feel safe (silence or violence), and your own Style Under Stress. It takes both knowledge and practice to know what to look for then actually see it. * Silence: purposely withhold info. almost always done to avoid problems, but restricts flow of meaning. 3 most common forms of Silence: Masking-sarcasm, sugarcoating, and couching are most popular forms. Avoiding- steering away from the subject. Withdrawing-pulling yourself out of the conversation. Violence: strategy that attempts to convince, control or compel other to your point of view. 3 most commons forms of violence: Controlling- coerce other to your way of thinking Labeling- putting a label on ppl or idea to dismiss them under a category Attacking- moved from trying to win the argument by making them suffer. BECOME A VIGILANT SELF-MONITOR.Watch to see if you are having a good or bad impact on safety. CH 5 Make it Safe Step Out, Make It Safe, Then Step Back In *If you really want to have a healthy conversation, that make or break your relationship, then for a moment or two you may have to set aside confronting the current issue. **THE WORST at dialogue, say what is on their mind with no regard how it is rec'd. **THE BEST, talk about the problem, no sugar coating. BUT they step out, take a moment to make it safe, then step back in. - when other move to silence or violence, step out, make it safe, and when safety is restored, go back. Which Condition of Safety Is At Risk? MUTUAL Purpose -Do others believe you care about their goals? Mutual Respect -Do others believe you respect them APOLOGIZE when appropriate - when you've clearly violated respect - apologize When an apology is sincere, the motive should change. THE BEST at Dialogue, use 4 skills to create Mutual Purpose. (acronym - CRIB) *Commit to seek mutual purpose *Recognize the purpose behind the strategy *Invent a mutual purpose *Brainstorm new strategies CH 6 - Master My Stories - how to stay on topic when angry, scared, hurt *learn how to take charge of your emotions *The best at dialogue, act on their emotions (by thinking them out) *Nothing in this world is good or bad,thinking makes it so. Shakespeare *The best at dialogue, find a way to slow down then take charge of their Path to Action. -retrace your PATH: Act-Notice your behavior-ask" am I in some form of silence or violence?" Feel-Get in touch with your feelings "what emotions are making me act this way?" Tell Story-Analyze your stories "what is creating these emotions?" See/Hear-Get back to facts "what evidence do I have that supports this story?" - Question your feeling and stories - Don't confuse stories with facts - Separate fact from story by focusing on behavior.

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