Do you dread and procrastinate initiating discussions when you think others will respond negatively to what you have to say? Are you hesitant to voice an opinion because you presume negative consequences? Practicing law, by its very nature, requires a facility for difficult conversations with clients, witnesses, supervisors, direct-reports and judges where outcomes can be greatly influenced by developing skills in handling conflict. This is at the heart of “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High,” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler. The methods described in this book are invaluable in any profession and I have had clients transform their leadership skills by incorporating the techniques.

A crucial conversation has three elements: (1) opposing opinions, (2) strong emotions and (3) high stakes. They can happen at work or home, wherever there are things, people and conditions that we care about.

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