This month’s Look at a Book, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High, is the perfect companion to October’s newsletter. Written by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler in 2002, this is not a new book. Yet it is still as timely and useful as ever. In reviewing this book Mark Victor Hansen, author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series commented: “The quality of your life comes out of the quality of your dialogues and conversations. Here’s how to instantly uplift your crucial conversations”.

Based on Hansen’s review, it should come as no surprise that I often use it as a workbook of sorts, as clients and I go chapter by chapter through the process of breaking down a conversation into it’s constituent parts. We practice each of the various elements that comprise each crucial conversation the client would need to have, with the end goal of a successful structure to use for the client’s future conversation.

The book follows a sequential pattern of introducing the elements that make up conversations in a tactical way and also share insights into how each one of us approaches parts of conversations in unique ways. Both aspects come together to create the secret sauce of successful dialogue—the creation of a free flow of meaning between two or more people.

My advice to you is to read one chapter at a time, go out and practice it, then review it with a trusted friend or coach and build your own skills to navigate your crucial conversations. It will absolutely have a positive impact on your life and relationships, at home and at work.

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