Alec Grimsley's Blog

July 16, 2009

What is a vital conversation?

Ken Blanchard once said “While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a business, a marriage or a life, any one single conversation can. These are often the difficult conversations that are pivotal to our future happiness, peace of mind or business success. These crucial conversations tend to differentiate themselves from our every day conversations by having five defining characteristics:

  • High stakes (psychological or material)
  • Uncertainty around how the conversation will play out
  • Historical Baggage
  • Differences of opinion
  • Strong emotions

It’s possible that your vital conversation may not contain all five ingredients, yet it is highly likely that strong emotions will be experienced as a by product of one or more of the other four.  My role is to coach and train people to identify and engage in these vital yet often very difficult conversations. I would be very curious to hear from people about which conversations you find the most challenging to deal with…

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