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Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High [Paperback]

Kerry Patterson , Joseph Grenny , Ron McMillan , Al Switzler
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)

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Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition 4.4 out of 5 stars (61)
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Book Description

June 18 2002
When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation badly and suffer the consequences; or read Crucial Conversations and discover how to communicate best when it matters most. This wise and witty guide gives you the tools you need to step up to life's most difficult and important conversations, say what's on your mind, and achieve positive outcomes that will amaze you.

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Product Details

Product Description


"What a profound and timely book! Here is the cure for arguments and misunderstandings; for mediocrity and frustration. This book offers a wealth of principles and skills that will dramatically improve your career, your organization, and your relationships." Stephen R. Covey

From the Back Cover

"Most books make promises. This one delivers. These skills have . . . 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

Learn how to keep your cool and get what you want when emotions flare.

When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation badly and suffer the consequences; or read Crucial Conversations and discover how to communicate best when it matters most. This wise and witty guide gives you the tools you need to step up to life's most difficult and important conversations, say what's on your mind, and achieve positive outcomes that will amaze you. You'll learn how to:

  • Prepare for high-impact situations with a six-minute mastery technique
  • Make it safe to talk about almost anything
  • Be persuasive, not abrasive
  • Keep listening when others blow up or clam up
  • Turn crucial conversations into the action and results you want

Whether they take place at work or at home, with your neighbors or your spouse, crucial conversations can have a profound impact on your career, your happiness, and your future. With the skills you learn in this book, you'll never have to worry about the outcome of a crucial conversation again.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When people first hear the term "crucial conversation," many conjure up images of presidents, emperors, and prime ministers seated around a massive table while they debate the future of the world. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended! July 12 2013
By Irini
I am still around chapter 8, but I find it extremely useful and I wanted to second others' recommendations for checking out this book. I never thought that I was an expert on conversations, but I had the impression about myself that I was at least "ok". So, I didn't experience it as an enjoyable reading (especially at first), because it reminded me of so many crucial conversations in my life where I did all the wrong things, injured relationships, and got exactly the opposite results of what I intended out of a conversation or for not having the conversation at all. So it was more of an emotionally painful but sobering reading, and with some hope at the end of the tunnel, as I continue to read. If nothing else, I am now more aware than before that my skills in this area are certainly in need for improvement.

And the authors' entire premise and set of techniques are described very simply and clearly, without all the heavy wordiness and theorizing that social scientists usually use in their books. It's very practical, short sweet and to the point, which I personally appreciate very much. I understood better through this little book what Kaheman tried to bring across in his large book "Thinking Fast and Slow" regarding the interaction of System 1 and System 2, even if the authors did not use these terms at all.

I am not promising that we won't be struggling with improving our crucial conversations for as long as we live even after reading the book, but even if we are able to remember even a couple of the tips and implement them during our next high-stakes conversation, it might make a big difference to an important relationship in our lives. And there lies my hope.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I ran across this book in the business section of my local bookstore while looking for help in having some difficult conversations with people who I like very much. I noticed that the forward to the book was written by Stephen R. Covey, authour of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which made me more comfortable in reading this.
This book brings interesting insights and easy readability together. Some many years ago, Howard Hughes hired a group of gifted engineers and told them that he wanted them to create a steam-driven car. After working for a number of years on the project they came up with a car which had a large piping system throughout the vehicle so that it could travel long distances. When they presented it to Mr. Hughes, his first question was 'What happens to the passengers if there is an accident?' The answer was that they would be scalded to death. Mr. Hughes had them cut up the prototype into pieces no bigger than three inches across.
We all have trouble starting and maintaining important conversations. Do you think the fault was in Mr. Hughes instructions or in the engineers forgetting that this was to be used by human beings? This intriguing book walks us through good crucial conversations, better crucial conversations and best crucial conversations.
It discusses to all kinds of situations from talking to your teenager to telling the boss something unpleasant about his/her behaviour. There are many actual tools to help you start the conversation, make it safe for everyone involved, ways to actually get a consensus of everyone's opinion and how to use the results to make better, more compatible relations with those concerned.
The reason that these conversations are so difficult is that the human system has been wired for survival.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
When I obtained a copy of Crucial Conversations, I had very high expectations of this book having read the authors' outstanding earlier work, The Balancing Act. I must say I wasn't disappointed; in fact, I was delighted! Crucial Conversations is an extremely insightful and very practical book. Indeed, it is a very rare combination to find a book that contains profound ideas as well as provides actionable tools and Crucial Conversations delivers both.
The book addresses a topic that is largely misunderstood and vastly underestimated: high stakes dialogue. The authors define crucial conversations as those where 1) stakes are high, 2) opinions vary, and 3) emotions run strong, or in other words, much of both our professional and personal lives. We're all involved in crucial conversations at home and at work but most of us are not very aware of the interpersonal dynamics at play and/or we're unskilled in how to respond differently. The book helps the reader first understand the principles involved in "crucial conversations" but then also helps the reader develop real skills and abilities to choose or change their communication patterns. The end result is remarkable. The book's impact is a much bigger idea than simple communication--it's all about effective human interaction and getting results with and through people.
The book is highly readable, extremely engaging and actually quite fun. It is filled with illustrations and stories from all walks of life: business examples, personal examples and family examples. The fact that the principles and skills the authors teach can be applied in all dimensions of life--work, home, personal--is very appealing to me and made the book extremely helpful on many fronts.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Video links not working...
Very inconvenient to use links to access video resources - i keep trying but it doesn't work. I hope someone can get back with me to help me fox the glitches....
Published 1 month ago by Aynur Gurbanova
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
This is the kind of book that you keep on your desk and refer to it whenever you feel the need to. I love how they separated the sections. Very good book
Published 4 months ago by Julien Messier
5.0 out of 5 stars valuable tool
My manager loaned me a copy of this. It is so useful I bought a copy for myself and have loaned it to my staff.
Published 9 months ago by Annemarie Balfour
4.0 out of 5 stars a little bit disappointed
The tactics offered in the book are bit too general.
Hopefully they can cater to people with various needs of crucial conversation toolkit
Published on Feb. 4 2012 by Wang Zhongyi
4.0 out of 5 stars You are not effectively communicating if you have not read this book!
Thanks for another great read from the 'crucial' family. I was a bit worried the second edition would be a repeat of the first but it is not; it is even better! Read more
Published on Dec 3 2011 by Joanne H
5.0 out of 5 stars Great seller!
The book was in excellent condition and I am enjoying reading it. Shipping was fast. No hassles at all. I would definitely buy from this seller again. Thanks!
Published on Nov. 25 2011 by Kevin
5.0 out of 5 stars Meaningful Change from Positive Conversation
According to the authors of this helpful little book, the art of making effective and meaningful conversation is critical in developing strong interpersonal relations. Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2011 by Ian Gordon Malcomson
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Crucial
Crucial conversations are inevitable. We face them no matter what. This book provides tools we can use to ensure that we can handle them well, and save ourselves from regrets later... Read more
Published on June 14 2011 by moch
4.0 out of 5 stars When the stakes are high
This book was a most enjoyable read but left me with a touch of ambivalence. As a handbook for communicating more effectively, it's helpful but perhaps a bit simplistic. Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2008 by Linda Bulger
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting Past Withdrawal and Attacks to Achieve Dialogue
What is a crucial conversation?

According to the authors, opinions vary, the stakes are high, and emotions run strong. Read more
Published on July 15 2006 by Donald Mitchell
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