Crucial Conversations

Kerry Patterson , Joseph Grenny , Ron McMiller , Al Switzler

Crucial Conversations



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Certain conversations can have an enormous influence on our lives, and yet we are not always able to manage them and achieve the best outcome. The way to do this is to learn the art of conversation, meaning to develop the ability to manage ourselves and our emotions even in a heated discussion. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High teaches us the techniques to maintain control in order to help us understand how to handle other people’s opinions and reach a satisfactory solution. And this is all possible thanks to a skilled conversation. 

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Analysis and key concepts


Sooner or later, everyone finds themselves involved in a crucial conversation that could change their life. Trying to avoid them can make situations worse and can often mean missing out on great opportunities


To get the best out of a conversation, you need to know how to converse, which is to make sure that everyone has the chance to express their point of view and that nothing is left unsaid


To have a fruitful conversation and ensure its success, you must remember your intention and be consistent


When it looks like you only have two options – attack or stay silent – you need to create other opportunities


Everyone involved in a conversation is responsible for its progress


How to stay open to dialogue when you are angry, shocked or hurt


Learning to listen to the other person’s point of view is the only possible way to find common ground




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Make sure that the result of a discussion, even a heated one, is able to express the opinions of both parties.
  • Manage and resolve disagreements.
  • Master difficult and potentially harmful conversations.

Kerry Patterson is an expert in effective communication who works mostly with large companies. During her career, she has helped hundreds of companies develop a more collaborative and efficient working environment.

Over the last 30 years, Joseph Grenny has carried out research in the field of social science with the aim of helping leaders and organisations optimise their performance. In particular, he has focussed on human behaviour. His work as an author and lecturer is available in 36 countries.

Ron McMiller is co-author of four New York Times Best Sellers, all dedicated to the development of communication.

Al Switzler’s interventions focus on strengthening leadership and teamwork by improving communication and the organisation of tasks. Co-author of 3 New York Time Bestsellers, he has taught courses at several American Universities.

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