Of all the books I’ve read and studied on how to learn practical and effective skills to communicate effectively when it’s really important to do so, nothing comes close to Crucial Conversations. The team at Vital Smarts were part of the original research team working with Stephen R. Covey on his best selling book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and have continued their research to produce this must read book.

I had the pleasure of meeting and working with one of the authors, Ron McMillan in the nineties and he is a wonderful example of someone who walks his talk, as I’m sure the rest of the team are as well.

Most importantly, this is a How To book that is based on solid research, years of application and validation and is not full of NLP ‘techniques’ to learn for manipulative self-indulgent outcomes. The authors provide a series of real life situations, conversations and case studies that most of us in one way or another at some time (and sometime too often) are faced with. They then provide the ‘typical’ responses that one might try, only to prove that there are more ‘skilful’ and intentional ways of maintaining a path of dialogue.

Key to the research is their findings on what it takes to be in true dialogue – mutual purpose, mutual respect and mutual understanding or disclosure. If one of these are at risk or have been fractured, then we revert to playing ‘silence’ or ‘violence’ games. The silence games we can tend to play include masking, avoiding and withdrawing from our truth and what really needs to be said. The violence games include controlling, labelling and attacking to avoid saying what really needs to be said.

I also highly recommend you sign up to receive the Vital Smarts team’s newsletter – it’s full of great reminders, stories and examples that will help you build on your life skills, your communication and dialogue skills and allow you to more positively influence better outcomes in the many and varied crucial conversations in your life.