Maybe it’s due to the summer warm glow that brings early light and bird song; where you wake up with a pep in your step despite your midnight-wee-early morning voracious read of Crucial Conversations by Al Switzler, Joseph Genny and Ron McMillan.
Summer reads and a good dollop of soft served ice-cream are a must. Recently, I discovered one reason soft served ice-cream gets its cute swirl: when the vending machine dispenses our wonderful freeze treat it gets infused with air! Taking this analogy into consideration, Crucial Conversations are a timely breath of fresh ‘air’ for those hot days (you know the ones I mean, where you break into sweat and the heat reflected on the outside seems to permeate through your body and lifts your veins to pumping lines).
Littered with personal case studies, you will find that work with dialogue contributes to positive work and life health. Endorsed by Steven Covey (another strong contender for your top five authors), the focus is on changing your behaviour / response to positively influence as well as adopt mindfulness and avoid sub-optimal conversations.
It is an organisational behaviour and sociology swirl concoction (yum, yum) that gives three insights:
- Empathy / Goodwill and Positive Intent is the I HEART way: Conversations that are open and honest include powerful listening, where you Ask, Mirror, Paraphrase, Admit you’re wrong (where a wrong has been identified), Apologise sincerely. I particularly embraced the almost ying-yang confident conversation approach of “I don’t want to offend, but I do want to improve our relationship” and ‘care coaching’.
- Prefer breakthroughs instead of breakdowns: Managing emotions to disempower the victim, villain and helpless views of situations and having a mindset that from facts each of us can create a story perspective which depends on our past experiences / responses. Every individual is the Author of their story, so I appreciated the stories that you could identify with that are active encouragements.
- Style matters and I’m not talking about wearing cool clothing in hot weather here. You will find that there is a Style under Stress self-review that indicates your preferred way of dealing with conflict issues. For me, it a good can opener of recognition on what your behaviour mode is and helps you identify the cues that take place so you don’t go emotionally ballistic and you do deal effectively with the curve balls that life brings.
I like the way the book is arranged in that it gives you theory and this is endorsed with a breeze of how it works in practice. This read refers to conversations that have your back against the wall with colleagues, significant others and strangers too! Emphasis is on the quality of the conversation had and not the quantity of words spoken; it’s about the “two of us, we can make it if we try” phrase captured by lyricists Bill Withers, William Salter and Ralph MacDonald (I bet you are humming now!). Like ice-cream, once you have read each chapter you will turn and go back for more.
It is at this juncture, that I leave you with the thought that whatever sizzling conversations you find yourself in over the next few months, enjoy your summer treats for read steaks (lol 😊 sakes)!
Article By: Shanda Reid.