Category Archives : Conversational Skills


An Ode to a Meaningful Conversation

Crucial Conversations is quite a notion, When stakes are high, opinions differ & there’s excess emotion, There seems to be an underlying annoyance, As we toggle between Silence & Violence. Sure it’s good to get rid of all the muck, And identify where we are actually stuck.., Backtrack from the ‘unhappy’ result, Step-out of the [...]

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How to Address Bad Body Odor

Dear Joseph, My son tells me his roommate at college has a body odor issue. It has become so bad that my son stays at his girlfriend’s more often than not. He has mentioned to his roommate that there is a terrible odor in the room, but hasn’t gone much farther than that. He did [...]


Crucial Conversations with a Defensive Spouse

Dear Joseph, My wife and I have a communication issue. We don’t talk enough about problems. Our conversation never lasts longer than forty-five seconds. This pattern has left a lot of issues unresolved that I feel are detrimental to the long-term health of our family. As soon as there is some indication of responsibility or [...]

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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 [...]


How to Raise Sensitive Issues During a Virtual Meeting

Hassan jammed a pencil eraser into his palm over and over to deal with his frustration. He was 80 minutes into a virtual meeting with counterparts from five other countries. A financial downturn had cut their revenue outlook dramatically. Those on the call had been tasked with taking 15% out of their cost structure, to [...]

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