The Return of the Rational—Separating Facts vs. Stories

Dear Joseph, Since the election, I’ve been noodling on one of the core competencies of Crucial Conversations: Separating facts from stories. We live in strange times where many people can no longer distinguish what is true vs. what is something they believe is true—seeing them as equivalents. How do you have a reasonable conversation with [...]

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What to Say When People Break Boundaries

Dear Steve, I recently built and moved into my dream home. My partner’s daughter has four very unruly children who do not respect my boundaries. How do I have the crucial conversation I need to have, so both my partner and his daughter understand that the children need to be taught to respect others and [...]


Advice for the Parents of the Marshmallow Eaters

Dear David, I think many are familiar with the Marshmallow experiment to demonstrate the benefits of delayed rewards. Is there any corollary data that demonstrates that those challenged with delaying rewards (i.e. those who ate the marshmallow) also struggled with avoiding penalties? In other words, do those so inclined ALSO engage in little behaviors to [...]

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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 [...]


4 bad habits that can destroy your career

Good professional habits like dressing well or writing concise emails can separate great employees from good ones. Bad habits have an effect as well, but professionals are often unaware of their own shortcomings or how to change them, according to David Maxfield, bestselling author and workplace expert who holds a Ph.D. in psychology. “Poor habits [...]

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