Crucial Conversations Summary

Crucial Conversations Summary By Kerry & Joseph

Blog Title: Crucial Conversations Summary
Name: Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
Author: Kerry PattersonJoseph Grenny
Download Audio Book For Free at: Audible
Book available in English at: Flipkart, Amazon
Book size: 272 pages


Before Talking about the book Crucial Conversations Summary, Let’s talk about the Author of this book. Kerry Patterson is an awesome and amazing writer, who has coauthored numerous articles and award-winning training programs, Kerry taught at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management and then cofounded Interact Performance Systems, where he worked for 10 10 years as Vice President of Research and Development.

Kerry is the coauthor of the New York Times Bestseller Crucial Conversations; Change anything, crucial confrontations, and influencer. Kerry has completed Doctoral work at Stanford University; he is a Recipient of the mentor of the year award and the 2004 William G. Dyer Distinguished Alumni Award from Brigham Young University.

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Crucial Conversations Summary
Crucial Conversations Summary

About the Book

Crucial Conversation – tools for talking when stakes are high talks about How to handle disagreements and high stakes communication, this book is written on the premises that when you are stuck in any situation whether at home or at work, it is this crucial conversation which is keeping you away from your desired result, and when you learn to handle such crucial moments effectively nicely, you can accomplish the result you want in your life.

Author of this book supports this idea by referring to people who are considered influential by their peers and managers in their work and relationships. They studied more than 20,000 successful communicators for more than 25 years and find out what made them different from others is their ability to deal with crucial conversations. They learned a skill, which is easy and which allows them to face any situation with nearly anybody, no matter power, position or authority.

Hence this book focuses on the techniques on how to hold such conversations in a positive space when surrounded by highly charged emotions.

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Their model has essentially 7 steps:

  1. Start with the Heart (i.e. empathy and positive intent)
  2. Stay in dialogue
  3. Make it safe
  4. Don’t get hooked by emotions(or hook them)
  5. Agree on a mutual purpose
  6. Separate facts from the story
  7. Agree on a clear plan

Let’s begin with Crucial Conversations summary

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1. Start with the heart- how to stay focused on what you really want

The real issue about having the conversation is not what we are discussing but how we are going to discuss, hence we need to create right place for ourselves and for the other person, so the first thing we must do before going into any conversation is to understand that the only person you can directly control is yourself, you need to manage your emotions and mindset.

If we enter into any situation with the wrong emotion and mindset and start our conversation with anger, resentment, and revenge, then your conversation will definitely be going to end badly, if you already made up your opinion or mindset about someone then conversation will be going to take another level, hence always try to keep positive mindset and goodwill about the other person.

It is quite difficult to change others but easy to change yourself, hence the first thing you must do is when you find yourself moving towards silence or violence, stop and pay attention to your motives.

Ask yourself, what you want, where you want to end this conversation? What does my behavior tell me about what my motives are? And clarify what you want for yourself? for others and for the relationship?

In any conversation don’t be one-sided thinker, Always enter in any conversation by being “Open” Don’t think that only our perception thinking is right, however we can be wrong, hence try to understand others perspective opinions and thinking related to any situation or event, and In any conversation do maintain Mutual Respect.

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2. Stay in Dialogue – learn to look

When the conversation turns crucial, we fail to see what’s going on and why we often miss or misinterpret the early warning signs, the sooner we notice we are not in dialogue, the quicker we can get back to dialogue, and the lower the cost.

When any discussion starts to become stressful, we end up doing the exact opposite of what works, we ruin the conversation because we miss the warning signs, we turn the healthy conversation into an unhealthy or crucial conversation, hence to avoid this we must  learn to look:

  • Learn to look at the content and conditions
  • Look when things become crucial
  • Learn to watch for safety problems
  • Look and see whether others are moving towards silence or violence
  • Look for outbreaks of your style under stress.

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3. Make it safe

Here what we need to do it to make other people feel safe, the more safer they will feel, the more open conversation they will have with you, but the greater they fear the more likely they will either close down or fight back.

Closing down Can take two or three forms

  • Masking ( where they pretend to agree/or pretend they are listening but actually they aren’t etc”)
  • Avoiding (Distraction techniques)
  • And Withdrawing.

When someone misunderstands you, it is your responsibility to make them understand what you don’t intend or mean and ones they understand explain to them what you were trying to tell them and what you actually meant.

The Way to show the opposite person that you respect their perspective is by listening to them, we need to show genuinely that yes we are willing to listen to you, openly and respectfully. This can only be done from an authentic place of compassion and curiosity. We need to tell them to tell us everything, sometimes need to listen to them from the beginning where exactly the issue ultimately stems from, the more you listen to them the more their emotions will subside, And the more you listen to them, the more they will be open to us and the more they will willing to listen to us.

There are four paths of powerful listening

  • ASK
  • Mirror
  • Paraphrase
  • Prime

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4. Don’t hook by Emotions

Crucial conversations are highly charged by emotions,  so to avoid such emotions the very first thing which must be done, is to name that emotion Is it anger? Frustration? Hurt? Disappointment? Ashamed? We need to understand our emotion really very nicely.

When emotions start flying around them it’s easy to get hooked, to stop getting hooked there are three things we can do.

  1. Keep focus on the end goal
  2. Refuse to play the game( here it means to refuse to get caught by your emotions)
  3. Avoid the suckers choice – we often find ourselves in two situation, either to shut up or to let it go or brutal Honesty, however both ways fail, if you let it go then the other person will not know how you felt, and you will keep that thing in your mind and heart which will affect you and if you decide to be honest and want to tell the other person how you felt by being honest brutally, it will also affect you and the other person too

Hence try to identify what we do want and what we don’t want to happen as a consequence of raising it.

So how we can make the honest conversation without offending(without closing them down)

So for this requires a mix of confidence I:e. You require to be brave, to place the conversation at first place and Require humility to present it in a soft and polite way, and a skill to stay in a dialogue.

Five tools to use, as defined by the Acronym STATE

  • Share the facts
  • Tell your story
  • Ask for the other person’s path/story
  • Talk Tentatively
  • Encourage Testing

Read More: First Things First By Stephen R. Covey – Book Summary

5. Agree on a mutual purpose

The key reason to find mutual objective is suppose if I want one thing and you don’t then its unlikely to be a successful conversation. And hence when you are at cross purpose, use four skills to get back to the mutual purpose.

  • CRIB To get to Mutual Purpose
  • Commit To seek Mutual purpose
  • Recognize the purpose behind the strategy
  • Invent A mutual Purpose
  • Brainstorm new Strategy.

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6. Separate facts from story

The story we tell ourselves about our experience is actually what drives our feelings, if we are angry we must have told ourselves a story in which our anger is justified, and if we are sad or upset then also we must have told ourselves story which has justified our emotions. However, these stories are not inevitable. We can choose what story to tell ourselves and when a particular story drives us in an undesirable direction, we can choose to tell a different story.

Skills for mastering our stories

  • Act – Notice your behavior, Ask – Am I in some form of silence or violence
  • Feel- Get in touch with your feelings, what emotions are encouraging me to act this way
  • Tell a story- Analyze your stories, what story is creating these emotions?
  • See/hear- Get back to the facts, what evidence do I have to support this story?

Watch for Three Clever Stories





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7. Agree on a clear Action PLAN

The ultimate goal of dialogue is not just to create a healthy climate or even a clear understanding between parties, while both are helpful outcomes, both fall of the real purpose, to get unstuck by taking the appropriate action. If you don’t take action, all the healthy talk in the world is for nothing and will eventually lead to disappointment and hard feelings.

After reaching the point of shared meaning doesn’t mean we will have a successful outcome, there are a number of other pitfalls:

  • Lack of taking decisions
  • Wrong decision can be made
  • No action made to follow the decision

To help overcome this, we need to decide how to decide, it’s about to set ground rules for debate before the debate

There are 4 methods of decision making

  • Command
  • Consult
  • Vote
  • Consensus

When choosing which way to decide there are four questions to ask

First Question: Who cares – don’t involve people who don’t care
Second Question: Who knows – who has relevant expertise to help to make a proper decision
Third Question: Who must agree –who are the people who could block the implementation later on if involved in the decision making now
Fourth Question: How many people must be involved- try to involve fewer people if possible

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Conclusion – Crucial Conversations Summary:

This book has explain various important methods and ways to handle crucial conversation. In this world if person learns the skill to handle crucial conversation at any moment that person for sure will make their life more smooth happy and successful, because at any moment or at some point of time you have to deal with people who are of a different mindset and of different thinking and emotions. Understanding them and make them understand your views can be a tough task, hence to make that tough task easy and to handle tough crucial conversation do read this book ones.

You will get a lot of idea, and will help you in all aspect of your life, help you to handle your personal and professional life smoothly positively.

Download Audio Book For Free at: Audible
Book available in English at: Flipkart, Amazon

Do comment your views and tell me if you want me to make video summary of Crucial Conversations and do share your experience how you didn’t pay the attention towards the dialogue warning and you messed up your healthy conversation and convert it to a crucial conversation.

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