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Getting Past Withdrawal and Attacks to Achieve Dialogue
am 21. Juli 2006
What is a crucial conversation?
According to the authors, opinions vary, the stakes are high, and emotions run strong. This can involve ending a relationship, asking a friend to repay a loan, giving the boss feedback about bad behavior, critiquing a colleague's work, or giving an unfavorable performance review.
You have three choices about such conversations. You can avoid the conversations, face them poorly, or face them well.
This book focuses on the last, providing practical advice about how to keep your own cool while encouraging everyone else to do she same. You can save a lot of time in reading and understanding the book if you look at figures 10-1 through 10-4 beginning on page 182 before you get very far. It's a helpful overview of the authors' point of view.
The book's strengths come in the authors' sympathy with those who have trouble holding such conversations, the many examples and advice on how to deal with difficult situations.
The book's main weakness comes in a desire to encapsulate the key lessons into ACRONYMS like STATE and ABCs. While they are nifty acronyms, I couldn't remember what they stood for by the next page. Something more visual at each stage would have helped me out.
I also think that the book would have benefited from more advice on how to be empathic with the other people involved.
But if you normally handle such situations by running the other way, screaming or slamming the door, this book will help you develop much more constructive habits that will leave you feeling better about yourself.