On Crucial Conversations

I recently finished reading the book Crucial Conversations – Tools for talking when stakes are high by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler. Crucial conversations are defined as: “A discussion between two or more people where (1) stakes are high, (2) opinions vary, and (3) emotions run strong”. Crucial conversations occur everyday whether in a personal or professional level. A key for success and happiness is the ability to master these conversations. This book offers numerous tools to help one initiate and or engage in such conversations in a positive and productive manner.

Below are excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful, and that summarize the tools presented:

1- “Master your crucial conversations and you’ll kick-start your career, strengthen your relationships, and improve your health. As you and others master high-stakes discussions, you’ll also vitalize your organization and your community.”

2- “We’re simply suggesting that whatever the decision-making method, the greater the shared meaning in the pool, the better the choice – whoever makes it.”

3- “Start With Heart…Work on Me First…Focus on What You Really Want…Refuse the Sucker’s Choice”

4- “Learn to Look…To break from this insidious cycle, Learn to Look. – Learn to look at content and conditions. -Look for when things become crucial. -Learn to watch for safety problems. -Look to see if others are moving towards silence or violence. -Look for outbreaks of your Style Under Stress.”

5- “Make it safe…Step Out…Decide which condition of safety is at risk -Mutual purpose – Mutual Respect…Apologize when appropriate…Contrast to fix misunderstanding…CRIB to get mutual purpose -Commit to seek Mutual Purpose. – Recognize the purpose behind the strategy. -Invent a Mutual Purpose. -Brainstorm new strategies.”

6- “Master my stories…Retrace your path -Get in touch with your feelings. -Analyze your stories. -Get back to the facts. -Watch for clever stories…Tell the Rest of the story.”

7- “State my path…Share your facts…Tell your story…Ask for others’ paths…Talk tentatively…Encourage testing.”

8- “Explore others’ paths…-Ask. – Mirror. -Paraphrase. -Prime. -Agree. -Build. -Compare.”

9- “Move to action…-Command. -Consult. -Vote. -Consensus.”

10- “Establish new and higher expectations. Don’t deal with a specific instance; deal with the overall pattern. If you want someone to show more initiative, tell him or her. Give specific examples of when the person rain into a barrier and then backed off after a single try. Raise the bar and then make it crystal clear what you’ve done. Jointly brainstorm what the person could have done to be both more persistent and more creative in coming up with a solution.”

11- “Transfer tips…-First, master the content. -Second, master the skills. -Third, enhance your motive. -Fourth, watch for cues.”


Omar Halabieh

Crucial Conversations

Crucial Conversations


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