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Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High Paperback – Jun 18 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (June 18 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071401946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071401944
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 349 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #24,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"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.

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Inside This Book

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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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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11 2004
Format: Paperback
I bought this book after I heard Dr. Glickman, the author of Optimal Thinking-How To Be Your Best Self, recommend it during an Optimal Thinking seminar. When I read that Dr. Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, recommended this book too I knew that this was going to be a life-changing book for me. I was right. This book has given me a formula for handling myself and others correctly during tough interactions. I am embarrassed to admit that I sometimes yelled and degraded people when I did not get what I wanted from them. Now I use optimal thinking to put my best self in charge, start with heart, look for safety problems, make it safe, retrace my path, and take the other steps recommended in this book. The steps are simple and clear. I am not perfect at them yet, and might never be, but I have already come a long way. You can't go wrong with this book, so press the "Buy" button right now, and if you want to optimize your effectiveness in all areas of life, buy the other books I mentioned.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on July 15 2006
Format: Paperback
What is a crucial conversation?

According to the authors, opinions vary, the stakes are high, and emotions run strong. This can involve ending a relationship, asking a friend to repay a loan, giving the boss feedback about bad behavior, critiquing a colleague's work, or giving an unfavorable performance review.

You have three choices about such conversations. You can avoid the conversations, face them poorly, or face them well.

This book focuses on the last, providing practical advice about how to keep your own cool while encouraging everyone else to do she same. You can save a lot of time in reading and understanding the book if you look at figures 10-1 through 10-4 beginning on page 182 before you get very far. It's a helpful overview of the authors' point of view.

The book's strengths come in the authors' sympathy with those who have trouble holding such conversations, the many examples and advice on how to deal with difficult situations.

The book's main weakness comes in a desire to encapsulate the key lessons into ACRONYMS like STATE and ABCs. While they are nifty acronyms, I couldn't remember what they stood for by the next page. Something more visual at each stage would have helped me out.

I also think that the book would have benefited from more advice on how to be empathic with the other people involved.

But if you normally handle such situations by running the other way, screaming or slamming the door, this book will help you develop much more constructive habits that will leave you feeling better about yourself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Irini on July 12 2013
Format: Paperback
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susan Ricketts on Aug. 2 2009
Format: Paperback
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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