Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High

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Foreword by Stephen R. Covey, Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


"Most books make promises. This one delivers. These skills have not only helped us to change the culture of our company, but have also generated new techniques for working together in ways that enabled us to win the largest contract in our industry's history."--Dain M. Hancock, President, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

A powerful, seven-step approach to handling difficult conversations with confidence and skill

"Crucial" conversations are interpersonal exchanges at work or at home that we dread having but know we cannot avoid. How do you say what needs to be said while avoiding an argument with a boss, child, or relationship partner? Crucial Conversations offers readers a proven seven-point strategy for achieving their goals in all those emotionally, psychologically, or legally charged situations that can arise in their professional and personal lives. Based on the authors' highly popular DialogueSmart training seminars, the techniques are geared toward getting people to lower their defenses, creating mutual respect and understanding, increasing emotional safety, and encouraging freedom of expression. Among other things, readers also learn about the four main factors that characterize crucial conversations, and they get a powerful six-minute mastery technique that prepares them to work through any highimpact situation with confidence.

Customer Reviews:

  • An excellent treatment on dealing with others...
    This book will provide you with handy ideas and techniques to deal with difficult situations. We may not realize, but the first dialog starts within us, and often we operate in the auto-pilot mode. In today's complex world, not recognizing this is a recipe for troubled relations - regardless of whether you are dealing with heads of state, companies, or ordinary individuals. Missed opportunities to connect, and have meaningful dialog have led to "preventable" human catastrophies and wars.

    The search however has to begin with you - because it is inside you that strife first begins. Super imposed on that is conditioning that has occurred for years - which leads to missed cues, and misunderstandings.

    Be careful however; both parties have to be at least some what willing to connect. Dialog is never a one way street, and trust is at the root of building confidence in the opposite party. This is vital and the authors address it under "safety" - making conditions safe for honest and open dialog to occur. Cultural differences, belief systems, and upbringing lie sub-surface in all such interactions. These manifest in the form of personality and behavior of individuals. The book is light in this area; I wish the authors had done more on these topics - since they are often the gateway to get started.

    I suggest you also read People Styles at Work, and What Type Am I to get a more comprehensive understanding. It will take your ability to hold crucial conversations to the next level!

    ...more info
  • Wrong audio book sold.
    The seller had the wrong book down for sale. It would be easy to do since the author had a similar named book. I was very impressed with the quick response to correct the problem. They credited the whole amount back and said I can keep the book. It is great to see a trustworthy, reputable, seller out there today - doing the right thing. I would highly recommend doing business with this seller again....more info
  • Depends on whose reading it
    A friend of mine purchased this book as part of her work at a major corporation that does out-bound sales and in-bound customer service. She was accsued of being overly-emotional and brash with ehr colleagues and her boss wanted her to tone it down. THis is an excellent book for toning it down. It has an extensive personality test in the beggining that elucidates the readers conversational styel and whether they do thing the 'correct' way according to the authors or the 'wrong' way and are thus brash and emotion and 'attacking' the people they speak with.

    So this book helps breed out all the bad traits of the human being. While a leader might be a genious and original he may not be taking the feelings of others into account, he might be avoiding having tough covnersations with those he hates, or she might be mean to people and run them down when lecturing them. This book helps to give one tools on how to have conversations, especially difficult ones.

    The book will certainly influence those that want to be influenced. All the lines of What To Do When You Become The Boss: How new managers become successful managers and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People this book coaches and turns people into good automotons, like the salarymen of Japan, who are all nice and disarming and empowering.

    It depends on the eyes of the beholder.

    Seth J. Frantzman...more info
  • Amazing book and worth every page!
    This is the best book in my life. Authors have done a great amount of work and its clearly visible in their authentic and superuseful details presented in the book. Any working professional or a person with relation-ships (meaning, literally everyone) MUST READ this book.
    Communication is such an important element that is most often the reason for success or failure of any undertaking whether it be professional or personal. But communication is largely treated as an art, but this book makes it almost a science with very logical artifacts. I'm recommending this to all my acquaintances....more info
  • Good Tools for Tough Conversations
    A very good book with lots of specific, helpful tools to help you navigate difficult, emotionally-charged, conversations. I was a little put off by all the cute acronyms summarizing various steps along the way - CRIB, STATE, AMPPP, etc. - but in total agreement with their main points that in order to get people to add to the pool of meaning, you have to help them feel safe.

    People interested in this topic should also look at the Glaser's book "Be Quiet, Be Heard" which covers similar material and presents models that I found are more intuitive and therefore easier to remember.
    ...more info
  • Best book in the market!
    This is by far the best book in the market for business and home use. Excellent book!...more info
  • Ignores conversational reality
    Do we need a book to tell us that if we and/or our conversational partners are overly emotional or argumentative, create an uncomfortable or unsafe setting, clam up, will not listen, are incapable of adaptation or appreciating other views, or are not overly bright that chances for conversational success are greatly diminished. The author's message is that in the absence of these negativities, that basically free-flowing dialog where all the relevant information is brought into the open will result in effective communication. The emphasis in the book is within business organizations, in particular between employees and employers, although the ideas pertain to all other so-called high stakes conversations between various persons. However, the book absolutely fails to deal with conversational reality.

    It is readily obvious that the authors are consultants to the business community (managers), because of their dismissal of the power differentials in the workplace. Their citing of a few brave employees who questioned or contradicted a top manager, serves merely to reinforce the hazards to employees for speaking out in the workplace. Of course, such non-controversial topics as safety, productivity, or where to have the company picnic can be broached. Fundamental topics such as policies, strategies, products, marketing, structures, or personnel are invariably off limits. If the authors wanted to be serious about conversations within businesses, they would propose democratic participation structures, where workers or their elected representatives could freely, without fear of retribution, address any and all issues, not just the safe ones. Bravery or putting one's job on the line would not be necessary.

    It is hardly just within businesses where crucial conversations are prevented despite one's best efforts. Bureaucracies and other barriers are often initiated specifically to prevent conversations. Try talking to an insurance company about drug or treatment denial. Try talking to a sales person about a corporate product or service. Try getting through a telephone answering system only to be stonewalled by an "associate." Try talking to a doctor about treatments or, better yet, fees. Try talking to a department head about the nature or conduct of your education. The list is endless where most people do not have a chance of a meaningful or effective conversation.

    This book is like so many other "blame the victim" notions. If you are not having good conversations, it must be because "you" don't have the right "tools" to converse. It can't be that the person you are talking to has the power to inflict damage or is within a structure where they can simply ignore you or dispense pabulum. A democracy is based above all on wide-ranging conversation among equal citizens with hopefully widely accepted resolutions. Maybe some day in the US we will try a form of democracy within all of our organizations in which "conversations" are not one-sided with the possibility of punishment for even speaking. Now there is an idea for the authors to grasp.
    ...more info
  • Nothing new in this book
    Nothing new in this book, it copies things from other books and audio cd's. It is a ok read, but not sure if I would recommend anyone to read it. One thing I totally didn't like was the chapter telling you that sometimes it's ok to go to bed angry. I was thought never go to bed angry and I do not think that is a rule to break....more info
  • Ok Book
    There are only a few points in this book that I feel are good advice. Ways to think about how to defuse a situation instead of escalation or how to win over someone by making them feel as if you are all in this together and on the same team.

    ...more info
  • Bonding through constructive communication.
    This is a book about how to effectively communicate with others during crucial moments that happen to everyone. They're the day-to-day conversations that affect our life. The book offers useful tips in both dealing with your coworkers and at home with your family. It is often said that the quality of your life often comes out of the quality of your dialogues and conversations. For example, if you find out that your 16 year old daughter is on the pill, how do you effectively confront her without making the situation worse? How do you get your point across without offending anyone? How do you communicate clearly to get everyone on your bandwagon? What are the skills and techniques for working together that will enable you to win the largest contracts?

    According to the authors, this book will give you the tools to handle life's most difficult conversations. You'll learn how to:

    (a) Prepare for high-stakes situations both at work and at home.
    (b) Transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue.
    (c) Make it safe to talk about almost anything (which is sometimes difficult at home, especially with your kids).
    (d) Be persuasive, not abrasive. This is especially useful in business and the political arena.

    I found the following paragraphs in the foreword section by Stephen Covey quite interesting:

    "I can see the wisdom in the assertion of the great historian Arnold Toynbee, who said that you can pretty well summarize all of history--not only of society, but of institutions and of people--in four words: Nothing fails like success. In other words, when a challenge in life is met by a response that is equal to it, you have success. But when the challenge moves to a higher level, the old, once successful response no longer works--it fails; thus, nothing fails like success." (xi)

    "What you learn is that "crucial conversations" transform people and relationships. They are anything but transacted; they create an entirely new level of bonding. They produce what Buddhism calls "the middle way"--not a compromise between two opposites on a straight-line continuum, but a higher middle way, like the apex of a triangle. Because two or more people have created something new from genuine dialogue, bonding takes place--just like the bonding that takes place in family or marriage when a new child is created. When you produce something with another person that is truly creative, it's one of the most powerful forms of bonding there is. In fact the bonding is so strong that you simply would not be disloyal in his or her absence, even if there were social pressure to join others in bad-mouthing." (xii)

    What makes one of your conversations crucial as opposed to plain vanilla? First, opinions vary. For example, you think you are ready for a promotion, but your boss thinks you are not. Second, stakes are high. For example, you've got to do something different or your company isn't going to hit its annual goals. Third, emotions run strong. For example, a discussion with your spouse about someone she thinks you are flirting with.

    One of the main tools you will learn in effectively talking when stakes are high is to withdraw yourself from the situation and become a spectator. Only then can you see the big picture and what the problem really is. By detaching yourself, you also remove any emotions you might have concerning the subject at hand. Only when you see what the problem really is and how to effectively approach it and communicate your thoughts clearly without emotion can you reenter the conversation.

    The authors claim that by reading this book, you will never have to worry about another conversation again. But reading it is not enough. Practice makes perfect! And remember: to know and not to do is really not to know....more info
  • Crucial Conversations
    As an Executive Coach, I highly recommend Crucial Conversations. Many of my clients face the challenge of talking with their peers and/or direct reports on a daily basis. Most people don't handle those difficult conversations very well. This book gives great steps and info on how to go about treading through the difficult waters. I have purchased several copies of this book as gifts for clients. I am currently re-reading it in order to grasp and absorb the rich content....more info
  • A must read for anyone who ever talks to others
    I think I am pretty good with talking to other about difficult issues, but this book has added a lot to my tool box to pull from so next time I am dealing with someone on a sensitive topic I will have more tools to pull from to make sure we end the conversation in a positive manner.

    Read this book if you:
    - have kids
    - have siblings
    - have co-workers
    - have parents
    - have friends
    - go shopping

    OK don't read this book if you never interact with others. ...more info
  • Imensely practical, superbly written
    Whenever one finds oneself in an emotionally charged situation, at home or at work, the knowledge in one's head about how to communicate can easily be supplanted by the fight or flight responses triggered by feeling threatened. The authors dissect these scenarios to uncover the crucial turning points, where clear and honest communication can intercept reaction, and establish a dialogue that leads to a better outcome for all. Compelling, inspiring, and above all, immensely practical, it challenges and teaches how to communicate best, when it matters most. Highly recommended! ...more info
  • Ready to walk out the door and never return? Read this book before you do
    This book quickly became a priceless asset in my toolkit.

    You'll want to know that the writing style in this book makes the author's ideas very easy to understand. Their concepts are made very solid with thorough description and multiple examples. Every tip and technique is almost immediately applicable at some level or another in your everyday life, whether at home, business or a party.

    The ideas and techniques in this book will help you create opportunities to talk about even the most uncomfortable topics with the most challenging people under the least ideal circumstances, and still have a shot at a win-win experience.

    The biggest compliment I can give to the authors is that their work offers a doorway to empowerment in communication. Understanding and using these concepts can mean the crucial difference in your success in environments where communication is challenging and failure can result in dangerous consequences.

    One of the most amazing aspects is that the person you are talking with does NOT have to have the same skill set in order for your conversation to be successful. Your understanding and use of the ideas and techniques in Crucial Conversations will be what's needed to get both of you there.

    I think that one of the most beneficial aspects of this book is that the information can be used to create amazing relationships with other people using verbal communication.

    I offer consultation services to both individuals and organizations and I've found the tips priceless at every level. Emotions often run very high when it comes to animals and it's imperative on so many levels to ensure that what you need to say, does get said and the audience remains receptive to it. When people come to you for help, you not only need to really understand the subject and technical aspects, but you need to get the ideas to your client in a manner that allows them to be part of a conversation with you, not just a student. You can create an environment where that is possible after you've read Crucial Conversations.

    Just knowing what you want out of the conversation is often helpful enough, but being able to identify whether it is content, a pattern or a relationship issue also proves valuable.

    My recommendation would be to practice the skills, in addition to reading the book. Truly practice. The act of engaging and experiencing the concepts brings you to a completely higher level of understanding and just adds to your odds of a successful conversation when the stakes are high.

    I wonder what widespread knowledge and use of Crucial Conversations would do to reduce our divorce rate, or the lawsuit happy activities of America?

    When you are at the point where you want to walk out the door and never return, this crucial information could bring you back from the edge. You won't be disappointed that you bought this book, or invested the time to read it and practice what it teaches....more info
  • Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High
    Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High

    An excellent book that provides realistic examples of many of the discussions we would like to have with our loved ones, colleagues and friends and somehow cannot find the right words to do so. A good resource for anyone who wants their conversations to have a positive impact on their lives and on the lives of those with whom they want a stronger connection....more info
  • Do not go unarmed into that good night....
    That seems simple enough. Walk away from crucial conversations and suffer the consequences. Handle them poorly and suffer the consequences. Or handle them well. "I don't know," you think to yourself. "Given the three choices, I'll go with handling them well."
    Right after I read this book, I attended a meeting (what they pay me for) to research out the source of a few lost millions, and a few lost months of time, and some really unhappy financial people. I felt embarrassed that I had such modern dialogue tools available, kind of like Dr. Livingstone a few hundred years ago. Buy this book!...more info
  • Outstanding book!!!!
    Crucial Conversations is an outstanding book. This book can change the way people handle conversations in their personal and professional lives. It gives the reader tools to be able to conduct a crucial conversation.
    I am a nurse leader and have used this book both in dealing with my employees as well as my superiors, including physicians, and it works!!!
    There is work the reader has to do on him or herself to get to the heart of the matter, but it is worth the work.
    I have a friend who is a Chief Nursing Executive at a hospital in Illinois and has given this book to all of her managers. I went to a conference recently where the speaker not only spoke highly of the book but sold it at the conference.
    Absolutely outstanding. A must read for everyone...more info
  • Crucial Conversations
    This book had good examples and figure I can learn something new no matter how many times I've heard the information. Since I've had a lot of PR training over the last 35 years, this was a refresher for other aspects of my life, like being an elected official. The words the author used for silence vs violence, story telling, etc. are just a different way of training from what I've had in the past. Wouldn't have been my first pick for a Book Club selection but somebody new to leadership development would find it valuable....more info
  • Back to Basics
    I decided to use this book for my administrative staff. We are a small nursing home with 10 managers. We all were having difficulty dealing with the day to day stressors. This book has taught us how to have effective conversations with our staff and make better decisions. I recommend it as a basic tool to get the thought processes going to improve communication...more info
  • Makes You Think!
    This book was recommended by a client of mine who's very successful. it's easy reading & really makes you think about past & current "crucial conversations". The tactics are really simple, but the times we need to have them in our minds,We don't know how. This book makes it easy. After reading the book, when crucial times come up, I'm using the steps to make sense of what's happening. I wish I had this when my daughter was a teenager!!...more info
  • Business Leadership
    Learn which behaviors help you get ahead in the business world. This book is perfect for anyone looking to develop leadership skills.
    ...more info
  • Liked it
    I learned a lot from this book. If you like books filled with tools and strategies for bettering yourself and relating well to others, this is the book for you....more info
  • Excellent book on individual communication
    The most challenging part of cummunicating os knowing when you are in a crucial conversation. Sometimes you will find yourself in one without planning it or seeing it coming. Knowing what to do ahead of time may help in these situations, and this book can help prepare you.

    The book has a bit of a textbook feel to it and offers several memorization techniques RIB, STATE, and AMPP. It will help if the reader practices the techniques in a non-threatening environment prior to attempting them in a high stakes "cricial conversation."

    Lots of people have good intentions, but don't know how to communicate them well. This book will help get the message across....more info
  • Excellent Resource for All Facets of Life
    I highly recommend "Crucial Conversations" for everyone. It can help both personally and professionally. As a leadership coach, I encourage my clients to read this book.

    Recently a client was having problems with a direct report. Avoiding the situation was her usual response, hoping it would go away.

    This time though, we role-played how she could handle the conversation, using the technique of starting with the facts which the authors suggest will help build safety. Often what happens is folks start with accusations, which will kill safety, and most likely result in defensiveness. Then there's a stalmate. My client is going to try this new approach and I've got a good feeling will have positive results....more info
  • great business tool
    ordered 15 copies to distribute around our department... received rave reviews from everyone who read it....more info
  • Very good...
    Very good book for succesful managers, but also for amateurs interested in improving their communication skills. Of course, for some professionals that one may be "just another one"....more info
  • conversations
    Helped having already attended a meeting in which some of these techniques had been use....more info
  • The best non-fiction book I've read in my life.
    This amazing. It cannot be overstated: If you are a human being, this book will allow you to reach new levels in communicating with other human beings in your life. Period.

    Amazing book. Read it NOW....more info
  • Crucial Reading
    If you never experience conflict with anyone, this book isn't for you. Otherwise, Crucial Conversations is a crucial book. I teach personal safety/self-defense skills. Most of my clients want to learn the physical stuff, which is also crucial. However, even more important aspects of safety training are when to defuse a tense situation, and how to de-escalate a conversation when emotional stakes are high. The authors of this book point out that about half of those incarcerated for violence are not stereotypical career criminals or gangsters but first offenders, average people, who got caught in the "silence or violence" dichotomy until they could no longer keep their emotional energy under control and lashed out.

    The authors bring together some truly productive strands of thinking. Stephen Covey's influence is obvious (he wrote the forward), but I also see themes about storytelling to justify our actions reminiscent of Pema Chodron (a Buddhist nun in a Tibetan lineage). Parts I especially appreciate are the sections on knowing yourself and what you want out of particular relationships, keeping that focus, and cutting through the stories we tell ourselves (and often tell others) to justify our behavior.

    The skills in this book would benefit everyone in recognizing and resolving issues with those they care about. Or who wish to develop leadership abilities. Or who wish to live in a safer world....more info
  • Best book ever
    I have given this book to a number of people. It truly is a good read. Very helpful. For those of us that can be a bit this book....more info
  • disappointing!
    I paid for the book but then received a message saying they didn't have it in stock & couldn't get it. This was very annoying, they shouldn't have it listed if this is the case. The money was refunded after awhile but it makes me hesitate to buy online through this site again....more info
  • Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High
    Excellent book! I have used it in my work before and had good responses from people. ...more info
  • Change Your Life
    I have been in sales and sales management for a long time and am skeptical of "improvement" books. I read this as part of a course in effective communication (not willingly) and was really surprised by the original approach and effective process. Two years later, I have to say that this book has improved my life. I have always hated confrontation, but this completely changes the playing field. It is an empathetic approach that allows all involved to come away feeling respected and satisfied, even if they didn't "win" the argument. It's made me a better seller, a better manager, and a better wife and parent. If you'll "listen" to this message and practice this process, I think you'll be amazed at the result. I have now given this book and practiced these steps with everyone who works for me, and we are a MUCH more cohesive group because of it. Works great on my husband, too!! Enjoy... ...more info
  • Common sense isn't really all that common
    I like this book a lot. Developed for business communication it has applications for many areas of life. I found it clear, instructive, insightful and relatively free of new-age doublespeak. I work in an ER and I communicate with angry people (sometimes including myself) in emotionally-charged situations on a daily basis. I find the techniques presented in this book quite practical.

    For comparison I read a few of the negative reviews. Several of them dismiss this book as "common sense." I think they miss the point that common sense is not really all that common....more info
  • Crucial Conversations A Must
    I feel this book can help with Crucial Conversations at home as well as in the workplace. If applied, it can improve basic interpersonal relationships and improve your life as well as those around you. Excellent, easy to read and understand, and gives the hows to put into practice....more info
  • Crucial conversations (CD version)
    Great series of CDs, easy-to-listen voice, solid information. Now I'm going to look for a workbook - would be a great tool for family or work-related "mini-retreat"...more info
  • Management Development - conversational conflict
    As with many of these management development books, there are many pages just making up pages!

    However the content is excellent and will be very helpful to those who regularly work in challenging environments, or even in their homelife where conversations just seem to run away or not get results.

    If you find this book useful - consider books on Question Thinking also. ...more info
  • important messages in this book
    Sometimes the examples are pedantic, but the points are very important. As with many books like this, you need to keep re-reading and refreshing yourself on its lessons to fully benefit. If in a relationship, would be best if both read it....more info
  • Not great, but good
    This book gives you much to think about, and will probably help most readers function better in conversations about touchy topics. The authors are speakers and presenters, and this book shows that. As I read it, the book struck me as one you'd pick up on the back table after a seminar. It's a worthy read, but not a great book.

    I think great books about life principles tend to fall into one of two camps:

    They reach you emotionally. They provide insight rather than methodology. They are typically based on some profound life experience(s) of the author(s).
    They reach you intellectually. They provide methodology based on research. They are clinical and prescriptive.
    This book doesn't fall into either camp. The book provides a methodology and says it's based on research, but the book doesn't have the requisite bibliography and other references. There is one page of end notes for the whole book and this covers four of the twelve chapters. In books written by the original researchers, there are still outside references plus there are details about the research methodology and analysis. This book lacks those things.

    What we don't know, because the authors don't provide substantiation, is whether their prescription is proven. There are no double-blind studies of students involved in researching the techniques. There are no A/B comparisons. There are no brain scans showing how people respond to this kind of approach versus that one. There are no case studies of going into a dysfunctional corporation and, well, I think I made the point.

    It's left to the reader to try the prescribed techniques to see if they are effective. The methodology is based on the authors' theories, experiences, and observations, rather than on research that follows the scientific method. That doesn't mean the authors are wrong; much of what we learn in life doesn't arise from applying the scientific method. At the same time, the authors present their prescription as "based on research." Which, given what they wrote (and didn't write), it's not.

    Why they didn't present this as coming from their experience, I don't know. If Warren Buffet came to me and said, "I'm going to share with you a money management tip based on my experience," I can assure you I would not reject him out of hand. In their own field, the authors may not be at the level Mr. Buffet is in his, but still--what they say appears to come from wisdom and experience so why not say so and get on with it?

    Now, let's look at what this book does offer. Have you had those surprise moments when you get suckered into a conversation you shouldn't be having and it all turns out wrong? That's the problem this book addresses. It does that in a prescriptive manner, and what the authors say makes sense. This particular problem is pervasive and often devastating. The ability to mitigate such a problem or even turn around a failing conversation is highly valuable. The authors present a methodology for achieving this. And it's one that makes a great deal of sense.

    If you're having communication issues (and who isn't?), the small investment in this book is probably going to be worthwhile. You may not solve all of your problems and become an unflappable conversationalist, but you can probably improve enough that you're much happier in your relationships. Shortly after reading this book, I personally tried some of the techniques with someone who is always very difficult to talk with and things went better than normal.

    This book is well-structured and well-written. It's become increasingly rare that authors have a passing command of English and increasingly rare that a book undergoes competent copy-editing. I don't recall a single grammatical error in this book. That counts as a minor miracle, these days.

    Crucial Conversations consists of twelve chapters, a foreword, a page of endnotes, and a small index.

    Stephen R. Covey wrote the foreword. In so doing, he oversold the book. I was dismayed that he overdid the blarney this way.

    The chapters are as follows:

    Chapter 1. What's a Crucial Conversation. The authors start the book by getting us all clear on what they are talking about. This chapter explains why one conversation is crucial and another isn't.

    Chapter 2. Mastering Crucial Conversations. The key is to understand that dialogue is the free flow of meaning between two or more people. When you fill the pool of shared meaning, you have success. The rest of the book concerns itself with how to stay in dialogue.

    Chapter 3. Start with the Heart. The basic concept here is to examine your own heart, determine what you really want, and work on improving your dialogue skills to communicate that. In this chapter, the authors also begin to talk about Sucker's Choices, which they'll keep coming back to throughout the book. In the Sucker's Choice, you justify poor behavior by assuming or suggesting you are caught between two distasteful options.

    Chapter 4. Learn to Look. To keep the other person on track in a conversation, you need to look for clues that the other person doesn't feel safe and then take action to help that person feel safe. When people don't feel safe, they get defensive and fall back on behavior that derails a conversation. They'll retreat into silence or violence, neither of which is healthy. This chapter contains a self-test for determining your style under stress. After you review your results, you'll know which subsequent chapter most applies to you.

    Chapter 5 covers what to do when you find those clues that the other person doesn't feel safe. Chapters 6, 7, 8, and 9 each address other areas identified by the self-test.

    Chapter 10 is titled "Putting It All Together" and it recaps up the book. Chapter 11 provides advice on specific types of hardcases that defy the techniques in the book. Chapter 12 is titled "How to Turn Ideas Into Habits." The intention of this chapter is to give you something so you don't just read the book and continue as before. Basically, it says to study small parts of the book and practice what you learn.

    I think this book makes a good addition to any self-help library. While it falls short of a "must read," it comes awfully close....more info
  • Should read if ...
    Nutshell review - You should read this book if you ever need to talk to anyone! Sooner or later you will benefit from the insights and techniques explained in this book to help you handle things when talking gets tough....more info
  • Its all about being able to talk.
    I read the book in three days. My favorite conversant idea had to do with adding to the "pool of knowlege". I think if people don't state what they think a good outcome can not be found.

    ...more info
  • Learn to communicate better!
    I read this book as an assignment for a communication class. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it was not only easy to read but, it provided valuable insight to what goes wrong during the communication process and how one can begin to steer the process back in a productive direction. After reading this book, I was able to use the practical applications to many different conversations i.e. personal and professional relationships. It is a truly valuable tool if you have ever left a conversation feeling that you could have done more. I will be purchasing the authors' other books. ...more info
  • Crucial Listening
    The female narrator has a crisp clear tone in her delivery. Very good for a hard of hearing listener like myself. The material is first rate, I have listened to many such books over the years, and this one boils down the essential elements to a three tape book. Quite nice.

    Maybe it is just burn out on my case, but the self promoting forward by stephen covey almost made me turn the tape off as I drove Interstate 80. This guy is like Dr Phil, he's everywhere and he is so...ah...perfect....more info
  • Excellent!
    I have always been quite squeamish about talking to others when the stakes are high. Somehow I always seemed to make the situation worse, not better, when it really mattered, but I didn't know how to change. Shortly after reading this book, I had a situation come up where I was going to have to have "A Talk" with a relative. Instead of my usual sense of dread, the first thought that came to mind was actually, "oh Good, a chance to practice having a Crucial Conversation!" I applied the principles from this book, the conversation went smoothly, and it was a very empowering experience. Now I have it on my desk for easy reference, and I definitely recommend this book. ...more info
  • Life changing book
    I wasn't really sure what to expect going into this book. I was simply reading it because a friend recommended it as a help for some of the team unity problems I was facing.

    "Crucial Conversations" was a life-changer for me because it gave really practical ways on how to step up to the plate and resolve communication conflicts. I believe that it's already helped in the way I view everything that I spit out of my mouth - not to mention how I simply now observe dialog.

    I would strongly recommend this book for people who are stepping into a leadership role for the first time - regardless if they consider themselves excellent at gritty dialog or not.

    "Crucial Conversations" is also really useful for newlyweds who are learning the ropes to developing a solid foundation in their relationship.

    This book was a lot of fun to read, as I laughed often realizing how the authors were describing me to a "T" (and I'm one who would consider themselves pretty stinkin' good at dialog). I'm sure I'll be going back to it time and time again in the near future. ...more info
  • Fluffy, but very good
    This is kind of a fluffy business book... I generally hate these books, but this one has a creamy nougat center of knowledge that I've never encountered before. At 200 pages, its a must read. Please ignore the Franklin Covey vibe: the authors really have something important to say.

    This book solidifies what many have said before: those who genuinely understand how to communicate have all the power in this world. It's not about knowledge, skills, manipulation, or strength... Those who can get groups of people who distrust each other to come to genuine consensus will always have power. Why? Because its so incredibly difficult... and its so incredibly important.

    This book helps you identify the behaviors that help -- and the behaviors that hurt -- when building consensus. Make no mistake about it: human beings are poorly designed to get along with each other. Our brains are wired for competition. At most we co-operate with genetically similar groups. Evolution has wired us to not want to work together with people too different from ourselves, lest we threaten our own survival.

    That may have been useful 2000 years ago in highly competitive tribal cultures, but in the modern world such prejudice is usually counterproductive.

    This book helps you identify which behaviors may be hindering you. When confronted, a human's instinct is fight or flight. In a conversation, the fight instinct comes out in argument, sarcasm, or belittling. Likewise, the flight instinct comes out as keeping quiet and doing nothing, or totally ignoring what the other person said... typical passive-aggressive behavior.

    This book also presents exercises to help you keep a cool head, communicate clearly, and get things done... despite your evolutionary wiring.

    If you read this book, and practice their exercises a lot, you will slowly gain a reputation as somebody who can really make things happen.

    Highly recommended!...more info
  • Good Book But Leaves Something Out
    This is an excellent book which deserves to be a best seller. Many people are using for business but it helps for personal relationships too. However, the book doesn't address the issue of why it is important to have real, live conversations. Just getting people to talk in person is a huge issue in all arenas in life. If your staff or family are hiding behind text messaging and e-mail then you need to read Talk Ain't Cheap...It's Priceless! Connecting in a Disconnected World...more info


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