Review: Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler


Down and Dirty: 3.5 out of 5

A good series of tools with so many acronyms you’ll go cross-eyed.

I would be hard pressed to relate to you all the information in this book, and that is one of my biggest misgivings about it. I’ve not been able to retain what was spoken and very often during the course of the book my mind would wander, missing key bits.

What I did get out of this book is that crucial conversations can hit at any moment and you aren’t likely to be ready for them – however with a lot of practice you can learn how to:

  • Be more self aware of yourself, your reactions, the truth behind what is really going on, and how the other person is feeling
  • Establish safety in a conversation for the other person, connect with them, and allow information to flow freely on both sides.
  • Navigate a lot of hairy decisions without resorting to bullying tactics or committee indecision.
  • Keep calm and respond rather than react to situations.
  • Reel in a conversation that is starting to go badly.
  • Conquer your fight or flight instincts

And lots of more of course. The reassuring part of this book back from their study of how people where implementing this information. Some got it and some didn’t – but even the ones who got it took a lot of time to get it right

The process of learning how to manage a crucial conversation is a progressive one – one that people have to learn at their own pace. It is not something that you ‘just aren’t any good at’. With enough determination and practice you will get better and eventually master conversations.

While I found it difficult to digest and get into, I think the information is enlightening and worth more than one read. I intend to revisit this book a few times as I enter conversations and put some pieces to work for me.

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