Book Review - Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High

According to the organization Counseling Psychology, “Whether it is between couples, friends, family members, co workers, or customers, the way we communicate with one another is essential to how we get our individual needs met. 

Communication is the foundation of all healthy relationships.” While communication is such a crucial aspect to our lives, effectively communicating is not as easy as it would seem. Ineffective communication is all too common. explains, “People often fail to say what we mean, whether by design or because we just do not know how. We often misunderstand others, and, to make matters worse, may think we understand them when we do not.”

Business self-help beyond the boardroom

Authors Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler address the issues that arise in extremely important conversations in their 2002 book from McGraw-Hill Contemporary, Crucial Conversations: Took for Talking When Stakes are High. This business self-help book offers insight that goes beyond the boardroom, “The genius in this book is the insight it offers into human motivation and emotion,” North Carolina State University’s Susan Scherffius Jakes, Ph.D. writes in a 2004 review of Crucial Conversations. “Whether or not the reader practices a single technique, just having the insight this book offers is a step forward. My guess is that any reader will be motivated to begin to master their crucial conversations.”

Defining crucial conversations

So what is a crucial conversation? The first chapter of the book details, “The crucial conversations we’re referring to are interactions that happen to everyone. They’re the day-to-day conversations that affect your life.” The authors of the book identify three traits of a crucial conversation: opposing opinions, strong emotions, and high stakes. So whether it’s a conversation with your boss at work about much-deserved raise or talk with your romantic partner about the future of your relationship, finding the right words is challenging with these three high-tension factors impacting the discussion. 

That’s where Crucial Conversations comes in: this book offers readers the tools they need to successfully conduct a crucial conversation. Regardless of when a difficult verbal exchange takes places, readers can use the knowledge they gain from Crucial Conversations to logically and calmly discuss the issue. The better prepared you are at a moment’s notice to engage in a life-affecting conversation, the better you will be at communicating your needs. That’s the power of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. It empowers you to engage in crucial conversations confidently, rationally, and successfully.