By Bailey Penrose
Have you ever read something that changed your outlook on life? Maybe the change wasn’t drastic (maybe it was), but the Rubicon had been crossed and there was no going back. The book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switlzer did that for me.
When I thought of the term ‘crucial’ before diving into this book, I always thought it meant events of apocalyptic proportion; something you might see in a movie where alarms are blaring and groups of tense people in suits shout at each other in small huddles. That is not quite the scenario that Crucial Conversations envisions. The authors’ definition of ‘crucial’ seems to focus on the positively mundane – a ‘Crucial Conversation’ involves the intersection of only three criteria: 1. Opposing Opinions, 2. Strong Emotions, and 3. High Stakes.
Typically, when confronted with a tense conversation, we immediately jump into ‘fight or flight’ mode. No one involved in those situations comes out feeling very happy or accomplished. However, if you had the tools to deal with that discussion with a co-worker, boss, or family member and walk out of it with everyone feeling resolute and committed, wouldn’t you use them?
When you look at hard conversations as opportunities to improve communication, relationships, and outcomes, you will create positive change in both your personal and professional life. Not only will you benefit from the change, but so will everyone around you.
You can find a copy of ‘Crucial Conversations’ through your local library in either book or audiobook format: