One of my favorite resources when the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions start to run strong, is “Crucial Converations” which provides when casual conversations transform into crucial ones.   Ironically, the more crucial the conversation, the less likely we are to handle it well.   “Crucial Conversations” by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler provides a great roadmap that starts with “heart.”

At the core of every successful conversation lies the free flow of relevant information.   People who are openly and honestly expressing their opinions, share their feelings, articulate their theories.  It’s called dialogue.

To break away from silence and violence, we have to change our behavior, and calls for a change in heart.   Our first change in heart comes from realizing that as much fun as it would be to fix other people, we need to work on ourselves first.  Start with heart.  Here’s how:

Skill #1:  Focus on what you really want.  

  • Unhealthy goals:   Be right, look good, keep the peace, win, punish, blame, avoid conflict
  • Healthy goals:   Learn, find the truth, produce results, strengthen relationships
  • What results do I really want for myself?  Others?   Am I acting like what I want?  .

Skills #2:   Refuse the sucker’s choice – “Either/Or”

  • Move from “either/or” to come up with “and” options.   Say … “I wonder how ….”      
  • Watch Out:  Look to see if you thinking that you must choose between either peace or honesty, either between winning or losing, and so on.
  • Search for heathy options to bring you to dialogue.  

I’m on a journey to build better conversations. Join in!