Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Success Book Reviews - "Crucial Conversations" Part 3

This is Part 3 of my review of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, a landmark book on using dialogue to solve “high stakes’ and “high tension” problems between people. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

The authors use the concept of “Path to Action” to describe the route from what we see and hear to the eventual emotions and actions we associate with an event. In the later part of the book, after encouraging us to explore our own paths, they encourage us to explore how others got from “what they saw” through “what they felt” to “what they did.

The authors guide us carefully through this “crucial” phase of delicately uncovering other peoples’ emotional response strategies. To navigate this perilous journey, the authors supply a host of tested strategies:

The other person has to know we have the right motives .
They have to know we really care .
They may need a bit of “priming” (as in “priming the pump”) so THEY know that YOU are ready to listen .

Once everything is out in the open, the authors suggest ways to compare divergent views, and they move on to discuss varieties of “deciding” on action once all views have been aired. When do you “command”, when do you “vote”, when do you use “consensus”?

Later in the book, the authors generously provide over a dozen “mini-case studies” of how to conduct some “crucial conversation” work with friends, children, employees, etc, as well as a variety of hints on how to begin embedding the skills into your life. One of their techniques, “think about the rewards”, is a time-tested rule that the best motivators have used for decades. If you concentrate on how good the changes can be once your dialogue skills are upgraded, the incentive to change is heightened.

I find the methods in this book so compelling I may go ahead and sign up for a training course. I strongly recommend this book.

Part 1

Part 2

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