Crucial Conversations

Crucial Conversations

Lightning topic conversation

What is a Crucial Conversation?

crucial conversation (kr-oo shel  kän´vur s¯a´shen) n

A discussion between two or more people where

  1. stakes are high
  2. opinions vary
  3. emotions run strong

How do we handle Crucial Conversations?

Crucial conversations happen every day in life. They’re day-to-day conversations that affect your life.

What crucial vs vanilla?

–Talking to your coach about a possible promotion. You think you’re ready, they do not (stakes are high).

–You're in a strategy session with coworkers on how to lead the project - one sees the direction going one way, other another way (opposing opinions)

–You and coworkers are brainstorming different ways to leverage new business development to gain a big client or you wont make annual goals (emotions are high)

We usually handle crucial conversations by:

  1. Avoid them
  2. Face them and handle them poorly
  3. Face them and handle them well

Each of us enters conversations with our own opinions, feelings, theories and experiences about the topic at hand. When entering into a crucial conversation - our opinions differ.

  • Find a shared pool of meaning
  • You another: I have one history, you another

How to practice crucial conversations and what to look for:

  • Heart - Stay focused on what you really want
  • Look - Recognize when “safety” is at risk
  • Safe - Talk about anything
  • Master - Stay in dialogue when angry/hurt/scared
  • State - how to speak persuasively not abrasively
  • Explore - When others blow up or clam up
  • Action - to results