1What’s a Crucial Conversation?And Who Cares?

The void created by the failure to communicate is soon filled with poison, drivel, and misrepresentation.—C. NORTHCOTE PARKINSON

When people first hear the term “crucial conversation,” many conjure up images of presidents, emperors, and prime ministers seated around a massive table while they debate the future of the world. Although it’s true that such discussions have a wide-sweeping and lasting impact, they’re not the kind we have in mind. The crucial conversations we’re referring to in the title of this book are interactions that happen to everyone. They’re the day-to-day conversations that affect your life.

Now, what makes one of your conversations crucial as opposed to plain vanilla? First, ...

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