It’s been a while since reviewing a book here.  One of the most truly difficult things to do is honest expression of what you’re attempting to communicate.  Most of my life I’ve realized that it was relatively easy to honestly express yourself in monologue, but in communication with others things get murky.  Have you ever wanted to speak with someone about an important topic, start up a conversation and end up spiraling out of control in frustration or deviating off path and accomplishing nothing?  That’s a rhetorical, EVERYONE suffers from this, regardless of how well spoken you are.

The book Crucial Conversations is meant to help people see why they are making these mistakes and how to properly address those issues with some conversational tools.  I’ve read a few of books similar to this, as previously stated, the ability to truly listen and communicate effectively is not an easy thing to do and something you need to work at.  Some people are more naturally gifted, but regardless of who you are this book can give you some new perspective.

A conversation is categorically crucial when the stakes are high, emotions are strong and opinions differ.  Those circumstances often cause us to act out in ways that we normally wouldn’t.  Tension becomes high when we expect others to differ in opinions.  One of two things happens for a lot of us, we either get very quiet or we get aggressive.  People in positions of power may well be prone to “punish” those not in a position of power and those not will potentially clam up.  This is really dependent on personality, but the silence or violence aspects of adverse conversations will cause issues in the long run.  In a room where someone is in charge and gets “violent” often people will stop talking and let the decisions be made, only to never support them when out of the room.  So things get decided, but never supported, which means results won’t actually happen.

crucialconversationsAccording to the book, dialogue is the process of sharing value (information) and using that sharing to make decisions.  So when something happens that inhibits anyone from sharing value, the process breaks and there really isn’t a dialogue any more.  It’s important to realize and alter that state.  There are a great deal of tools in the book that are intended to help your notice and regain a lack of dialogue, as well as getting what you are looking for.  It’s pretty easy to forget what you really want when conversations revert to ego or something beyond dialogue.  When you forget what you really want, you usually don’t get it.

This was a really good book.  I need to read it again though.  I feel like it’s going to be a book that will need to be revisited to keep it top of mind.   It may well become a once a year read for me because it’s that important to improve in this area.  Not because it’s a particular detriment, but because it’s that important.  Certain skill sets are needed to succeed and healthy dialogue is one of them.  If you see a lot of value in that as well, I’d recommend this.