EppsNet Archive: Crucial Conversations

Crucial Conversations

I know my son had a history test today, and that history is a make-or-break class for him. I want to ask him about the test but we’re having a delicious family meal at Olive Garden and I don’t want to break up the festive mood in the event the news turns out to be bad. I decide to ease into it with some small talk . . . “So, how was recess today?” o_O (BLANK STARE) I continue, “I know you had a history test today but rather than get right into that, I thought we could start with some small talk about recess.” He says, “I haven’t had recess since 6th grade.” “Oh. In that case, how was the history test?” Read more →

The Downside of Effective Communication

What I re-learned in Crucial Conversations class is that you can have “better” conversations with people if you’re able to control your initial emotional reactions and apply some learnable communication skills. I say “re-learned” because I got the same takeaway years ago from reading How to Win Friends and Influence People and Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. And while it’s been my experience that these techniques really do work, I haven’t used them as much I could have because they also seem to take a lot of the zest out of being alive. For example: Several years ago, we had an electrical problem at the house, where we weren’t getting power in any of the front rooms. My wife was home when the electrician came out — I was at work — and he fixed the problem in five minutes. When I got home, she was unhappy… Read more →

You Don’t Say

One of our exercises in Crucial Conversations training was to “think of a person who is really frustrating to work with,” and to describe in writing a recent interaction with that person in terms of what was actually said, and what you were thinking or feeling but didn’t say. My responses included the following: What I Actually Said This project presents some unique challenges. What I Didn’t Say I have a lot of experience managing IT projects, but not in running a day care center or a mental institution, which is what this project requires. What I Actually Said That’s not quite the way I would have phrased it. What I Didn’t Say Everyone else in these meetings seems to feel constrained by a sense of professionalism and decency that you appear not to possess. One of my colleagues at our table of four claimed that based on those responses,… Read more →

A Paradox

When we give up trying to convince, we become more convincing. — Crucial Conversations So — I should give up trying to convince in an effort to become more convincing? Read more →