Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Crucial Conversations

In early 2003, a friend suggested I read the book “Crucial Conversations” immediately. She knew of my personal goals – and tendency to avoid confrontation. Despite the needed training, I didn’t read the book immediately. As a matter of fact, it was April 2007 before I picked up a copy – it was in a markdown bin.

Now it’s my turn to say, pick up a copy of this book right away. If you are uneasy about having those difficult talks, this book is for you. “Crucial Conversations” offers tips and techniques on handling those difficult talks with others.

The authors offer great examples in the book. They are on topics dealt with during everyday living, confronting a love partner, calling out the boss, and confronting an employee. More examples would have taken this book to an even higher plane.

Chapter Four is the one chapter I really enjoyed. In this particular chapter, the authors discuss the importance of safety during conversations. The authors write:

“ People who are gifted at dialogue keep a constant vigil on safety. They pay attention to the content—that’s given—and they watch for signs that people are afraid. When friends, loved ones, or colleagues move away from healthy dialogue (freely adding to the pool of meaning)—either forcing their opinions into the pool or purposefully keeping their ideas out of the pool---they immediately turn attention to whether or not others feel safe.
When it’s safe, you can say anything. Here’s why gifted communicators keep a close eye on safety. Dialogue calls for the free flow of meaning –period. And nothing kills the flow of meaning like fear.”

In the time of crisis in your professional or personal life, dialogue is a needed component for success. Those of us who continually avoid the difficult conversations, and choose not create dialogue; will find ourselves watching life from the bleachers. I choose to get in the game. What about you? Go out and purchase or borrow a copy of this book.


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