Crucial Conversations - Book Summary

Main idea  

The phrase “decisive talk” conjures up images of great figures and statesmen engaging in meetings and discussions whose outcome will have an impact on the world. That's not a concept the book's authors meant; They care about the interactions that happen to everyone.  

Decisive talks are defined as discussions between two people where there is significance, opinions are divergent, and emotions are strongly expressed. These repetitive daily activities affect everyone's lives in a variety of situations, and the outcome of these pivotal conversations is incredibly important. An element of everyday human activity that can be changed forever in the future, for better or for worse. In addition, by approaching a conversation in a particular way, you shape a behavior for use in all subsequent conversations.  

The author's goal in this book is to teach people how to handle and even master decisive conversations, and thereby change people's lives.  

About the author  

Kerry Patterson is the Chief Development Officer and Co-Founder of Vital Smarts, a world leader in organizational performance and leadership. Kerry began his research on the challenges of developing and maintaining effective organizations during his doctoral work at Stanford University. He previously taught at the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University and co-founded Interact Performance Systems. Kerry is the co-author of The Balancing Act: Mastering the Competing Demands of Leadership and two New York Times bestsellers, Decisive Negotiations: Negotiation Skills in Decisive Situations (Crucial conversations: tools for talking when stakes are high), and Decisive confrontations: the skill to deal with broken commitments, violated expectations, and misbehavior. Kerry has won numerous awards and was selected as a finalist for the year of the Entrepreneurs Awards organized by Ernst and Young in 2004.    

What is a decisive conversation?  

A decisive conversation is a discussion between two or more people where (1) the meaning is important, (2) the opinions differ, and (3) the emotions are strongly expressed.  

People often try to manage this situation to the best of their ability. But in most cases, they don't do it well at all, for some reason. “Biologically, humans are designed to manage stressful situations with their limbs (and related hormones and chemical reactions), not with mind and concern.” In most cases these situations come randomly without warning, and many people can only react unconsciously.” Many people simply don't know where to start when faced with situations. this situation.  

The consequences of avoiding or spoiling an important conversation can be quite severe, as every aspect of people's lives can be affected, from a personal perspective (relationships with loved ones). , our friends, and favorite team members, our health) to the work side (career and the community around us). Learning how to deal with critical conversations and how to handle them well is also learning how to influence every aspect of a person's life.  

Master the decisive conversations  

The smooth flow of relevant information is at the core of any successful conversation. The key to successful dialogue is openness and honesty in expressing thoughts, feelings and reasoning, and a willingness to share views when the ideas discussed may be controversial or unpopular. . This stream of clear thought is dialogue.

How to make a successful conversation  

  • Each of us engages in a conversation with different thoughts, feelings, experiences, ideas, and theories about the topic being discussed. This combination of thoughts and feelings creates an individual set of thoughts.  
  • People with good communication skills often try to create a sense of security for people to discuss their opinions – forming a shared source of information. As this shared resource is added to the information, it grows.  
  • When this happens, everyone benefits: because they have access to more accurate and relevant information, they make better decisions, and people are also more willing to act on any decision. determine which all actions are favorable. The source of shared thoughts is where unity comes from.  

These conversational skills are pretty easy to spot and learn  

Start from the heart  

Yes, it's your heart. The first step to mastering the conversation is to gain self-knowledge. So the first rule is “practice with yourself first”. If you can't get yourself right, you'll have a hard time getting the conversation right.

One of the first steps to doing this is to understand that when faced with a failed dialogue, you are often quick to blame the other person. Although in rare cases you are the one who actually did absolutely nothing wrong; but often, people often contribute to the difficulties they go through.  

The best people at the table not only understand this simple truth, but also realize that they are the only people they can change under any circumstances – the only people you can continue to stimulate. like and shape (with any degree of success) the person you see in the mirror.  

Mature people always start from the heart  

  • They start high-risk discussions with the right motives and stay focused no matter what (they stick to their goals and believe that dialogue, in any whatever the circumstances, always make an option).
  • They ask themselves, “What does my behavior tell me about my motives?”
  • And ask yourself, “What do I want for myself? For others? For this relationship?”
  • And, finally, “How would I behave if this is what I really want?”
  • They say no to bad choices (an either/or choice) o For example testing to see if you can decide between win and lose or perfection and honesty.  
  • Create continuity with the conjunction "and".
  • Clarify what you don't want, add it to what you really want, and ask yourself to start looking for sensible options for getting back into the conversation.

Learn to observe  

When you're in a decisive conversation, it can be difficult to discern exactly what's going on and why. Sometimes, when discussions get heated, you do what you shouldn't.  

To get out of this circle, you need to learn how to:  

  • Look at both the content and the terms: You can get so involved in what you're saying (the content) that you can't withdraw from the debate to see what's going on with you and the rest of the crowd ( condition).  
  • Look for signs that a casual discussion turns into a decisive conversation: What cues (physical, for example) can you use to tell your brain is out of focus and you are straying from healthy dialogue. When the situation is safe, you can say anything; when the situation is not safe, you start to go blind and unable to receive feedback.  
  • See if people are going in the direction of silence or extremes  

2 directions are not beneficial:  

Silence – purposefully keeping information out of the conversation; to avoid possible problems. 3 types:  

  1. Concealing – understanding or selectively expressing true thoughts (sarcasm and rhetoric are examples)  
  2. Avoid – steer away from sensitive topics  
  3. Withdraw – both sides withdraw from the talks  

Aggression – any verbal tactic to persuade, control, or force others into one's point of view. There are 3 forms:  

  1. Control – force others to follow your way of thinking  
  2. Labeling – putting a label on other people or opinions to put under a common pattern or category  
  3. Attack – move from winning an argument to making someone else suffer.  

Look for excesses in your style under pressure – it's essential to monitor your own behavior and be a watchful self-control machine. Do you have a penchant for silence or extremes when dialogue fails? In each case, are you the one hiding or the one avoiding?  

Create a safe atmosphere  

When the other person goes silent or gets hysterical, it's time to step out of the conversation and create a safe atmosphere. When and only when feeling safe can return to the matter and continue the conversation.  

What safety conditions are not guaranteed?

There are 2 safety conditions:  

Shared purpose – the other party perceives that you are working towards a common goal in the conversation, that you care about their goals, interests, and values, and vice versa. When purpose is not guaranteed, you will face arguments.  

Mutual respect – the condition for the continuation of the dialogue; If respect is lost, everyone will only think about it. When respect is in danger of being lost, people become emotional and expressive.

How to create a safe atmosphere

There are 3 effective skills used to do this

  • Apologies when appropriate.  
  • Contrast to clear misunderstanding – when the other party misunderstands your purpose or intentions, use antagonism. Start with things that were not intended or thought, and then explain what you really intend or think.  
  • Use “CRIB” (Commitment, Recognize, Invent, Brainstorm) to get back to a common goal o Commit to finding a common purpose – let everyone know your decision to continue the conversation until you figure it out something that benefits everyone.  
  • Identify the purpose behind the strategy – ask people why they want what they want. o Create a shared purpose – see if you can create a higher or longer term purpose that further leverages the goals that are causing conflict  
  • Think of new strategies for finding solutions for people.  

Master my story

This chapter shows how to take control of crucial conversations by learning how to control your emotions.  

If strong emotions make you prone to silence or extremes: try the following:  

Redraw your direction  

A story is created when you add meaning to an action you observe. Emotions often follow.  

  • Try to notice your behavior. See if you yourself are straying from the conversation? Ask yourself what you're really doing. (“Am I in some state of silence or extremes?”)
  • Be aware of your emotions. Learn how to correctly identify the emotions behind your stories. (“What emotions are causing me to act in this direction?’)
  • Back to the actual data. Get rid of certainties by distinguishing between hard facts and fictional stories (“What evidence do I have to support this story?”)

Beware of cleverly crafted stories: stories labeled victims ("It's not my fault), villains ("it's all your fault"), and helpless people ("It's all your fault") I can't be of any help"). These stories always have no end: they omit important information about what really happened.  

Tell the rest of the story  

It's important that you do what it takes to tell a good story – one that creates the emotions that lead to the right actions, like dialogue.

  • You must turn the victims into characters, and not pretend to not notice your role in the problem.  
  • You have to turn the villains into human beings, and see them as reasonable, good, and rational people.  

Show your direction  

Then it's time to speak up and share your thoughts. When you have a difficult message to share, or when you're so confident you're right that you might push too hard, make sure you do the following:  

  • Share your facts. Start with the least controversial and most convincing element of your course of action – facts are the least controversial and most convincing.
  • Tell your story. Explain what you begin to conclude based on the facts you have shared.  
  • Ask the direction of others. Encourage others to do what you've just done by sharing facts and their stories.  
  • Careful dialogue – tell your story as it is, a story – don't mask it as fact.  
  • Encourage challenge – create a safe atmosphere for others to express different or opposing views by making it clear that you want to hear these views – and act accordingly.  

Exploring the direction of others  

After letting others know what you want to say to them, it's time to give back – it's your turn to listen to what they have to say. Encourage the flow of thought and help others leave silence and/or hyperactivity behind.

It's best to start with curiosity and patience to help bring back the air of safety. You can then use the 4 effective listening skills to help understand the direction of others' actions to the root.  

Ask. Start by showing interest in the opinions of others  

  • Reflect. Enhance a safe atmosphere by feeling the emotions others are feeling (do this not just out of respect).  
  • Explain. When one or more of the other parties begin to share part of their story, repeat what they are telling you, to show that you not only understand, but that it is safe for them to share what they are thinking. or feel.  
  • Good words. If one or more of the other parties stops, start talking to them by trying to guess what their thoughts and feelings are and act accordingly.  

Here is your time to speak. As you share your views, remember the sequence of ABCs:  

  • Agree when you really agree with one or the other.  
  • Build. If others have left anything out, agree on the points you agree with, and point out areas of consensus and add omitted elements to the debate.  
  • Compare. If and when you have a sizable difference, don't be so quick to assume the other person is wrong. Let's compare the 2 points of view.

Go to action  

Now that you know how to succeed in decision conversations, translate them into big decisions. Separate dialogue from decision-making (just because everyone is allowed to share their views doesn't mean everyone is guaranteed to contribute to decision-making) and avoid passivity.  Decide how to   make decisions _ _

4 ways to make decisions:  

  • Ordering – decisions are made without the participation of others or input from them.  
  • Consultation – opinions are gathered from the group, and a representative group makes the decision.  
  • Voting – a certain consensus number drives the decision accordingly.  
  • Unanimous – all members of the group must reach agreement and support the final decision.  

Choose between methods that determine who wants to be involved in decision making, who has the expertise to best do it, who has authority or influence over any decisions made, and always Remember that as few people are involved in the decision as possible while ensuring the quality of the decision.  

Clear ending  

Tips to help you end the conversation clearly  

  • Determine who does what and when.

Clarify expected results.  

  • Provide an implementation timetable.  
  • Record commits and keep track of them.  
  • Remind everyone to carry out their responsibilities.  

Change your life  

How many opportunities are there for you to improve the way you communicate – a factor deeply rooted in your psyche? Of course that depends, as there are quite a few things that affect your chances  

  • Decisive conversations aren't always easy to spot; You'll probably only notice it once you've dived into it. And it's always surprising.  
  • It's almost unfair, but the bigger the problem, the more emotion you'll bring in, and the less likely you'll be to practice new skills in conversation. Surprise and emotion make it hard to remember to act in new ways.  
  • Scenarios that you use in ordinary conversations – are still another enemy of change and improvement. People use prewritten scripts to make speaking easier, but they also tend to position them as spiritual guides.  

Faced with these challenges, can we really change? The answer is, yes we can! Here are four principles for turning ideas into action  

  • First, master the content. Learn how to make your own scripts.  
  • Second, master the skills. Act out these new scenarios in a way that is consistent with the supporting principles. It is not enough just to understand a concept; you have to practice it.  
  • Third, raise your motivation. You have to want change, you have to give full attention to your conversation skills and really want to do something.  
  • Finally, watch for signs. To overcome surprises, emotions, and old scripts, you have to recognize the cues of action. This failure to observe is often the biggest obstacle to change.