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Re-read Saturday: Crucial Conversations Week 2 – Chapter 1 What’s a crucial conversation? And who cares?

This week we continue our re-read of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler. Chapter 1 of Crucial Conversations provides the reader with a definition of a crucial conversation for the book, hints to aid in recognizing this form of communication, and provides a rationale for why we should care.

A crucial conversation is a conversation whose outcome can affect your life and has three basic attributes. The first attribute is that there has to be differences in opinions. The second attribute in the author’s model is the stakes are high. An example of high stakes used in the book was the conversation between a boss and subordinate over a raise. The determination of whether the stakes are high is personal.  Only one party needs to feel that the stakes are high for the conversation to be crucial for that person. Having not read ahead, I do not know if the authors explore this perception mismatch later in the book. The third attribute is that emotions are strong. Strong emotions (e.g. fear, anger, or anticipation) are caused by the people or situation.

Part of the value of understanding the definition of a crucial conversation stems from the fact that many crucial conversations happen during more innocuous casual conversations. Your approach to the conversation needs to shift as the conversation changes. This skill requires practice in recognizing crucial conversations.  Recognition is a key skill because crucial conversations tend to generate high-stress which causes self-defeating behavior.  

The authors state that in real life people often either avoid crucial conversations or act in a counterproductive manner which feeds into the goal of the book which is to teach the reader how to address crucial conversations in a productive manner.  The law of crucial conversations is that “the key skill of effective leaders, teammates, parents, and loved ones is the capacity to skillfully address emotionally and politically risky issues.”

Behavior is only addressable through conversations. I have long argued that stated support for missions, visions, policies, and processes is far less important than behavior.  Crucial conversations that allow teams and team members to hold each other accountable for their behavior are an important tool for addressing those issues.

As part of this re-read what I would like to do is hand you an assignment so that we can leverage cover his words from the forward practicing what we learned. [HUH?] And for this week I would like you to identify crucial conversations that you have had and see whether or not you can identify all three of the aspects we talked about in Chapter 1. Share your experience in the comments for this entry of Re-Read Saturday.

Previous Entries

Week 1 – Logistics, Forewards, and Preface 

If you do not have a copy or have tossed it at someone during a crucial conversation, it is time to buy a copy. Please use the link above!  sing the link (using the link helps support the blog and podcast).

By: tcagley
Title: Re-read Saturday: Crucial Conversations Week 2 – Chapter 1 What’s a crucial conversation? And who cares?
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Published Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2020 23:55:46 +0000

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Written by Michael Paul

Michael is the Founder of the Fuseology Creative Brand and Socialtap. Michael's passion is in seeing and helping small business succeed. Some call him a "local genius" with a knack for uncover and connecting all the dots in chaotic digital world helping it make sense. Whether it is Website development, mobile websites or social media Michael and his team at Fuseology Creative & Socialtap are a great choice.

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