This week, I have been blessed to attend the training program called Crucial Conversations, based on the book of the same name. You need to get this book now! Seriously.
It will give you so many useful tools for improving your communication skills — in almost every situation and with every type of relationship. The focus is on how to be effective when conversations get “crucial” – which is defined as a situation where there are differing opinions + strong emotions + high stakes. High stakes are anything that the people involved feel are high stakes, not just those talked about by our presidential candidates.
The premise of the book is that when conversations are crucial, us humans are likely to be sabotaged by our biology. When we feel threatened/angry/upset, our “flight or fight” response is set off and that rush of adrenalin shuts off the higher level reasoning parts of our brain. We become unable to be communicate effectively just at the moment we need to the most.
I know this is true for me. When I am tweaked or triggered, I can feel my heart race, I start to sweat, and my muscles get twitchy as they get prepared to either run away or take on the threat. And it turns out that is just what we do in communication as well. We either run away, by shutting down, or we take on the threat by getting aggressive.
For me, I am more likely to get really intense (and my apologies to those of you who have experienced this) but I know lots of folks who clam up. It turns out that this pattern is very common and needless to say, is very harmful to creating effective dialogue.
What is your pattern? When you don’t feel safe, are you likely to get quiet and give up or to get aggressive and push harder?
What’s really cool about the book is that the authors lay out a set of useful strategies for getting back to your most effective state and successfully navigating all types of crucial conversations. Its about not only knowing yourself but also how to help others feel safer – both of which get you back into healthy dialogue. I don’t want to give the ending away so get the book and find out for yourself. Or check out the website at www.vitalsmarts.com for a training near you.
Needless to say, I’ve walked away with some great new tools and I can’t wait to implement them in my personal and professional life. Learning something new always gives me a big boost in energy and happiness. I think it’s because we are designed to keep growing and evolving so when we do, we get that cool buzz of being filled with life.
Whether or not this book interests you, consider how learning something new might give you a boost of energy and enthusiasm. For me, it was this training but I would have been equally jazzed to take a cooking class or surfing workshop. What energizes you? Search for some options and get it on your schedule now.