Category Archives : Communication Skills Training

VitalSmarts teaches strategies and communication skills for sustainable and measurable behavior change that leads to stepping up employee engagement, quality, productivity, safety and other key indicators.


Crucial Conversations in a Crowd and Other Less Than Ideal Circumstances

Dear Emily, I have enjoyed reading your guidance. Your advice and books tend to assume an ideal environment for communication: face-to-face, alone, and with no distractions. Those conditions are ideal, but rare. Most interactions are constrained: in an open-plan office, with family members, on a car or train, with background noise, or amidst distractions, lack [...]

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How to Connect with an Aging Parent

Dear David, My husband struggles with how to engage in conversation with his mother. Mom doesn’t get out much and spends a lot of time with what we consider negative news. When we are together, she shares her opinions as facts. Often sweeping generalizations,”Kids today don’t learn anything in school,” or, “No one . . [...]


How to Broach a Difficult Topic

Dear Crucial Skills, As the mother of two adult children who are each very intelligent and gainfully employed, I try and stay out of their personal decisions. However, one of them started smoking during his high school years. The smoking has continued for almost twenty years. His father and I worry about his health but [...]

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Foul Language at Work—To Confront or Not to Confront?

Dear David, I’m in my sixties, and it bothers me when I hear people in the office using what I consider to be foul language, most often the “F-word”. This happens when they are on the phone having personal conversations and sometimes in internal office meetings. This language seems ingrained in the younger employees, and [...]