Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Review - Crucial Conversations

Crucial Conversations
by Patterson, Grenny McMillan, Switzler

I was browsing through the book Crucial Conversations by a group of researchers and noticed the following quote "Speak while in anger and you'll give the best speech that you will ever regret." The authors had me, I was intrigued wondering what these guys had to say about this common trap of speaking out of emotion. It turns out that the researchers of Crucial Conversations were originally studying why certain people were more effective than others. Thousands of interviews brought them to the topic of how to best deal with a crucial conversation which by definition has the potential of changing the course of your life. This book gives its readers tools for dealing with the Fool's Choice which says I must choose between telling the truth and keeping a friend or choosing between candor and kindness.

Crucial Conversations is a book of dialog tools which can help each of us navigate those hard conversations which we typically prefer to avoid. The beginning chapter of Start With Heart will quickly draw you into familiar ground and leaves you with hope that you can learn some of these communication techniques. 
Pool of meaning is a term used in Crucial Conversations to capture the concept of contributing to the true meaning or common ground of the conversation. Asing the defining question of the 'What do I want?' helps bring focus to a dialog.  Losing focus can result in a change of motive such as just winning the argument versus the original topic.

The chapters of this book contain many practical real life stories which help to make Crucial Conversations an interesting read. Given how common it is for conversations to get blown out of proportion it is a good bet that all readers will glean useful nuggets from this book.

One chapter titled "How to Speak Persuasively Not Abrasively" uses the following word reminder for teaching some principles to follow.
STATE - Share you facts, Tell your story, Ask for other paths, Talk tentatively, Encouraging Talk

Another chapter called 'How to Listen When Others Blow Up' used AMPP.
AMPP - Ask, Mirror, Paraphase, Prime

All chapters contained helpful and insightful concepts but I thought chapter 5 "Make It Safe" was probably required reading for all married couples and business leaders. Working on making my our conversations a safe place to share hurts and concerns is the cornerstone of Crucial Conversations.

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