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Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High Paperback – 1 Jul 2002

44 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Contemporary (1 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071401946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071401944
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

Offers an approach to handle difficult conversations with confidence and
skill
-- Financial Times, September 2006

The book helps you talk honestly to anyone about anything, resolve the
problem and build relationships at the same time.
-- Edge, September 2006

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
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Irini on 12 July 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Theis Egeberg on 31 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback
The best part of it is that it really helps, it doesn't read like your classic self-help book either. The analysis comes off as scientific and intelligent, not your average "I think it's like this" book. The downside is that it also gets a bit boring and lengthy at points - once you've gotten the point it often continues five more pages. Some points in the book I found hard to apply, but around 80% of the advice is directly applicable. It is full of examples - but they are served exactly the same way everytime : short and heavy handed. I'd rather see some more real-life examples with all the subleties we use in our language.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Linda Bulger on 12 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback
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.

"Crucial conversations" are defined as those in which opinions vary, the stakes are high, and emotions run strong. The book targets situations in business and personal life, and is extremely readable with its many illustrative dialogues from both sectors. An extensive vocabulary is introduced and I've had some of the terms floating like a ghostly subtext under my own conversations: Sucker's Choice; Safety; Salute and Stay Mute; Silence or Violence; Freeze Your Lover; Pool of Shared Meaning. It's all useful even if reductionist.

The techniques offered for effective negotiation are generally quite obvious, yet they bear repeating and codifying. They are, however, techniques, and as such they probably won't give earth-shaking results without an understanding of what's making people tick. Conversation and negotiation are so much more than technique.

CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS is an ideal offering for the best-seller market and would be a great springboard for leadership development workshops.

My two picks for the best advice in this book:

(1) Stay focused on what you really want.
(2) If you give this book to a partner or business associate, don't take a yellow highlighter to the parts you think they need before you give it; better to work on your own side of the crucial conversations.

Linda Bulger, 2008
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Richard Foster on 11 April 2005
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the book, but like Stephen Covey's material I found it little theoretical and academic for me.
The book does a nice job of detailing how quality conversations take place or should take place, also how to achieve this type of converstation.
The downside I felt is that I wanted help with dealing with hostile customers, clients or colleagues. I frequently attend meetings where I would like to handle these situtations better.
My opinion is that the book didn't cover those situations well enough for me to take into my business life.
This is still a worthwile book to read and would recommend it.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Jan. 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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