Title: Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High
Authors: Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
Administration gave us a book to read over the summer. It was not required. It was suggested. It's a book about improving your communication skills. Just as there was a couple years ago when we were required to read Mindset (read here), there has been resistance in the ranks.
"How dare they give us this book to read. They're the ones who can't communicate." And so on. You know how it goes. I was always going to read it but even I went into it with a pessimistic attitude, thinking maybe it might provide ammunition in a difficult meeting one day.
The truth is, the book's actually quite good. The authors are business consultants who have spent years watching successful people, dissecting what they do differently from everyone else. Their thesis: everyone has crucial conversations in their lives, both personal and professional. The people who stand out are the ones who handle those conversations effectively.
According to the authors, a crucial conversation is one in which opinions vary, stakes are high and emotions run strong. In education, such conversations happen all the time: teacher-student, teacher-admin, teacher-colleague, teacher-parent, student-student, student-bus driver, etc. The book offers several tactics they have found to be effective in these tense situations. Each chapter focuses on a particular skill. For example:
- Chapter 3: Start with Heart, How to Stay Focused on What You Really Want
- Chapter 5: Make It Safe, How to Make It Safe to Talk About Almost Anything
- Chapter 8: Explore Others' Paths, How to Listen When Others Blow Up or Clam Up
Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month. This month's link list is below. I'll keep it open until the end of the day. I'll post August's tomorrow. Meetings are the last Friday of each month. Next gathering is August 25th.