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Crucial Conversations

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Our emotions dominate us during crucial conversations. Knowing how to act in these moments gives you more chance to succeed in your professional and private life. How many times have you been through a situation where an important conversation became an unnecessary fight? Usually these things happen during crucial conversations, where there is a lot of tension and emotion, and when we are less able to control ourselves. Being prepared in these situations is essential because the decision to fight or run has to be done in the blink of an eye, but that self-defense comes in exchange for our ability to think rationally.

Imagine, for example, that you are in a relationship. And without any prior indication, your partner says he wants to break up with you. It is likely that instead of discussing the pros and cons of maintaining the relationship, you are taken by your instincts and start an emotional fray. This situation is just one of many where our ability for crucial conversations is tested. According to a research cited in the book, those who know how to handle crucial conversations have a much better chance of mastering challenges and becoming leaders in their organizations.

The best solutions are only found when people share their opinions and knowledge in conversations. A successful conversation depends on each participant sharing information and opinions. In this way, it is possible to make smarter decisions and reach better conclusions. But sometimes people begin to be afraid to share their ideas and criticism because they do not want to hurt the other people involved. But this is totally counterproductive. People are much more likely to accept a solution that has been acquired after a productive dialogue. A person, who participates in the decision-making process, opining and listening, tends to strive to make the decision work even if disagrees with it completely. Focusing on the purpose of the conversation helps you avoid being overwhelmed by emotions. When someone criticizes our ideas, we are unlikely to accept criticism calmly. In fact, there are more chances that we will get angry at the person who made the criticisms. But this is certainly a bad way to end the conversation; so how can we act to improve?

One of the first things to do when someone criticizes the ideas is to react by highlighting the positive sides of your plan. If you react with anger instead, you are unlikely to find any solution. To avoid this anger, wait for a moment and rethink the reason for being there; what exactly do you want to achieve with this conversation? What information does your partner need to understand? What is your ultimate goal? Simply reflecting on what you really want can help you control your emotions. Think about the following situation: you want to tell your partner something that can really upset him/her. As you reflect on what you most want there and what you want to avoid, you will be able to structure your conversation in a rational and calm manner, saying what needs to be said without risking a fight.

When people are not sure in an argument they begin to act aggressively. One of the reasons for this is the atmosphere of conversation; for example, if a person feels comfortable in the conversation and is not afraid of being "attacked," she can discuss the most varied and controversial topics without becoming aggressive. However, if someone does not feel safe and has the impression that they will be unfairly criticized, they will start to act aggressively.

Demonstrate that you respect people and their interests create a safer conversation environment. After identifying the signs of insecurity during a discussion, you may ask yourself: how to prevent someone from becoming aggressive during the conversation? It is possible to take some measures to control the atmosphere of the environment. The most important things to keep the discussion calm are the feelings of mutual respect and goal in common.  If there is no sense of mutual respect between two people, the conversation can quickly lose control.



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