Crucial Conversations

What is a crucial conversation? A discussion between two or more people where either the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotion runs strong (Greeny, McMillann, Patterson, & Switzler 2012).  When I think of a crucial conversation I think back to a moment when I had to sit down with an employee who was also, a friend. I was always told to try to let your friends understand when you walked into work; work became work. When approaching this situation I knew that emotions were going to run high and I was most probably going to lose a friend. Why? Because here opinion of me changed at that moment. She considered that because I was her friend that no matter what she did at work she was forgivable. She wanted to tell the clever story as they talk about in the book to get justification.

Greeny, McMillann, Patterson & Switzler state: In truth, when we face crucial conversations, we can do one of three things: 

  • We can avoid them.
  • We can face them and handle them poorly
  • We can face them and handle them well. 

When my boss told me we needed to have this conversation for days I wanted to avoid it because why? I didn’t want to lose my friend. And if I faced it I knew she would handle it poorly.

Crucial conversations are not fun but they need to happen and we sometimes think these are only left up to the important bosses, elected officials, parents, and administration. That is not always true. Sometimes, to full fill ones goals we must have conversations that makes us uncomfortable. Such as, if you are feeling as if you are fitted for a position but keep getting passed over for it. You need to approach your boss and see why no one has asked you about your interest in that position. It might be something as simple as you haven’t officially applied or he or she didn’t know that you had an interest.

I believe when you are in a meeting you tend to see high stakes, opinions vary, and strong emotions like they state (Greeny, McMillann, Patterson, & Switzler 2012). When this happens it is hard to see others or yourself handle those conversations well. That is why preparing yourself for the conversation prior helps to calm the situation prior.

Patterson, K.,  Grenny, J.,  McMillan, R. & Switzler, A. (2012). Crucial conversations:

           Tools for talking when stakes are high, second edition. McGraw-Hill.

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