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Lisa DavisProgram Associate-LeadershipPhone: 501-519-5472Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Lisa Davis - November 29, 2022
For the November 2022 Leadership Lunch and Learn, I presented on the topic “Crucial
I was first introduced to the Crucial Conversations information as a participant in
the Delta Leadership Institute. I remembered the importance of the topic but had forgotten
the complexity of the details in the book. Let me focus on a few tips and tricks to
engage in crucial conversations.
A crucial conversation is a discussion characterized by high stakes, differing opinions,
and strong emotions. Crucial conversations are often typical daily interactions as
opposed to planned, high-level meetings. These conversations can have a huge impact
on your life. Examples include confronting a coworker about his/her behavior, ending
a relationship, asking a roommate to move out, or giving the boss critical feedback.
We often try to avoid having these conversations because we’re afraid we’ll make matters
worse. And in fact, when we do have crucial conversations, we usually handle them
badly. We behave our worst at the most critical moments. We may withdraw, or rage
and say things we later regret.
We typically fail at these conversations because:
But this doesn’t have to happen. People can learn the skills to handle these conversations
effectively. And when they do, their career, health, personal relationships, and their
organization or company benefit tremendously.
Crucial conversations need to be constructive, they must have a shared purpose, and
the conditions must be safe for everyone to contribute. It’s important that all parties
participate in order to reach the best conclusion or outcome.
Many conversations, however, go off the rails as people act out by pushing their views
aggressively, withholding their views, or acting from motives that undercut the shared
How do you react when conversations suddenly move from smooth and easygoing to tense
Let’s review the Law of Crucial Conversations from the book: Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High.
Stage 1: Before
Work on yourself first. Start with heart which means focus on what you really want
for yourself, them, the relationship, and the organization (your long-term results).
Stage 2: During
The goal is for participants in the dialogue is to contribute to a shared meaning.
For effective conversations, there needs to be a safe place for all to contribute
and together work to avoid silence (withholding meaning from the dialogue) or violence
(trying to force meaning into the dialogue).
Stage 3: After
In this stage, there should be a “move to action.” This means participants should
determine who, does what, by when, and how they will follow up.
I recommend you watch the recording for video examples of how to implement these tips
for a crucial conversation.
Watch December Leadership Lunch and Learn
Here are valuable resources that may help you in your own crucial conversations:
In 2023, we are excited to be hosting a book review series, featuring leadership experts
from across the south. Each presenter will review a leadership development book. The
Book Review series will give you the opportunity to hear the cliff notes version of
many popular leadership development books.
The series will kick off on January 25, 2023, with Good to Great by Jim Collins, reviewed by Dr. Julie Robinson, Associate Professor-Leadership, University
of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.