This is a continuation of our key takeaways from a wonderful book entitled Crucial Conversations. Here goes …
- Stay alert for the moment a conversation turns from a routine or harmless discussion into a crucial one. As you anticipate entering a tough conversation, pay heed to the fact that you’re about to enter the danger zone.
- When others start forcing their opinions into the pool of meaning, it’s often because they figure that you’re trying to win (versus have a healthy dialogue), and they believe they need to do the same.
- The instant people perceive disrespect in a conversation, the interaction is no longer about the original purpose — it is now about defending dignity. (Editorial comment: No matter what, we need to behave as healthy adults.)
- When you’ve made a mistake that has hurt someone, start with an apology. (Click here to read our November 11, 2013, blog post.)
- As already mentioned, often both parties are trying to force their view. Say to the other person, “I commit to stay in this discussion until we have a solution both of us are happy with.”
- Other people don’t make you mad; you and only you create your strong emotions. You either find a way to master them, or you fall hostage to them.
- Just after we observe what others do and just before we feel some emotion about it, we “tell ourselves a story.” We add meaning, motive, and judgment to the action we observed (i.e., he doesn’t trust me, thinks I am weak, etc.). Then we respond with emotion. Don’t confuse stories with facts. (Editorial comment: This point is huge. Has anyone ever said to you, “I know what he is thinking”? How do they know?)
- The three most common unhealthy stories: Victim Stories — “It’s not my fault”; Villain Stories — “It’s all your fault”; and Helpless Stories — “There’s nothing else I can do.”
We’ll continue this discussion in two weeks. As we recommended in our last blog post, there is so much meat here, you may want to print this list and keep it nearby so you can reference it.