“Crucial Conversations”, has now sold over 2 million copies since it was first published over 10 years ago. And rightly so. Why wait to read and use this book as an adult? This is a book that should definitely be first used in schools (perhaps at the secondary level) at the start of one’s journey into adulthood. Using some of the concepts and techniques outlined in “Crucial Conversations” could save many of us from some of the painful mistakes we make when trying to communicate.
This second edition has all of the good stuff contained in the first, plus there’s the added bonus of links to online video examples and many case studies from people who have applied the techniques successfully. There’s even a section for tough cases such as handling sexual harassment, an over-sensitive spouse and failed trust.
As a management trainer, I found the section on “Decision Making” to be clear, simple and above all, useful.
From a communication perspective, one improvement I could recommend for a future edition, would be more discussion on the use of “I” as opposed to “You” and the impact each has on the recipient. For example in the section on “mirroring” the examples given (in a calm manner and to calm the other person):
“You say you’re OK, but by the tone of your voice you seem upset”
“You seem angry to me”
“You look nervous about confronting him. Are you sure you’re willing to do it?’
may not have an immediately calming affect on the recipient because of the use of “You” (rephrasing these from an “I” perspective could make quite a difference).
I found there was a lot of very good discussion on how to have more productive conversations. From my perspective, there could have been more discussion on the impact certain words have on the recipient of a message for example “You” (above) and “Don’t” (positive words as opposed to negative).
That said, I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to match the intent of their communication more closely to its impact. For example, I’d highly recommend Chapter 5 “Make it Safe” and Chapter 6 “Master My Stories” as a great starting point.
Bob Selden, author “What To Do When You Become The Boss”.
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