Friday, 9 November 2012
Book Review: Crucial Conversations by Patterson, Grenny, Mcmillan & Switzler
This book has the subtitle "Tools for talking when the stakes are high" and I found there was not a single page that disappointed me. Part way reading through the book I thought this is all common sense, and of course a lot of it is. However, the authors are showing and telling in an extremely compelling manner that you just can't help going "aha", oh-yes", "of course" every few minutes. My copy is full of notes, highlighter marks and pages turned over.
So what's the meat in the book?
At its heart is a dialogue model which is about me and the other and how we each act, feel, tell a story and see/hear. In our dialgue we are aiming to create a pool of shared meaning and there are a number of factors that impact this, such as safety, and silence (withdrawing, avoiding, masking) and violence (controlling, attacking, labelling). All this sounds cold in this description, what brings this book alive is the way the authors develop the model with the use of various tools and stories. It's impossible to read it anot feel connected yet at the same time feel empowered to do something about your next high stakes conversation.
You can download book chapters and sample MP3 audio from http://www.vitalsmarts.com/books_more.aspx . There is also the stress test to discover your style under stress.