Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stake Are High

We live in a world everything from sports to politics is polarized. Even the most casual conversationalists wil stop at nothing to prove that their team, party, or points-of-view is the best and most correct. Little, if any, consideration is given to listening and understanding the other perspective, causing problems in every facet of our lives. Crucial Conversations asserts that we can learn and develop the skills necessary to stop the initial reactions of lashing out or clamming up. As we learn to handle disagreement in conversations, we learn to navigate our way through high-stake situations.

“I have become more aware of… how true emotions can feel during crucial moments, and… how false they really are.”

Crucial Conversations takes principles of conversations we already know and brings new light and clarity to. For example, the acronym AMPP is to help us remember how to encourage free and unjudged conversation when an individual is feeling offended or reserved. “A” is for asking their views; “M” is for mirroring them; “P” is for paraphrasing what they have said and to acknowledging the story they have told thus far; and finally, the second “P” is for priming the conversations in a conducive direction.

“At this point, you could be tempted to water down your content – ‘You know it’s really not that big a deal’ — don’t give into the temptation. Don’t take back what you’ve said. Instead, put your remarks in context.”

At one point or another, everyone has felt the desire to handle a situation better, and that is exactly where Crucial Conversations steps in. It convinces us to not hide our emotions and passions. Rather, Crucial Conversations details how we can harness our passions into an effective message told through a persuasive, non-abrasive story.

“This is the first principle of dialogue—start with Heart. That is, your own heart. If you can’t get yourself right, you’ll have a hard time getting dialogue right.”

Crucial Conversations’ skillsets have been practiced and proven in the real word. Its tactics reunited a daughter and estranged father, kept families together throughout misfortune and financial disagreement, and even saved the life of a woman during a carjacking. The principles and skills taught in Crucial Conversations can be applied in an infinite number of ways, benefitting us immensely as we truly listen to and connect with the people around us.

By Sawyer Alvey

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