Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High Summary

The SQUEEZE: Defining moments that shape your life and relationships are the key to improving communication. In Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler discuss the topic of communication, focusing on the perspective that top performers, when under stress, are different from their peers. When emotions are strong, opinions differ, making it easier for top performers to be effective and use powerful dialogue. The authors conducted a study of the behavior of top producers of multiple companies which led to their conclusions that a learnable set of skills has the possibility of producing immediate results. In Crucial Conversations, leaders will learn how to transform emotions-driven dialogue into effective communication.

Notable Endorsement: “[Crucial Conversations] draws our attention to those defining moments that literally shape our lives, our relationships, and our world. . . . This book deserves to take its place as one of the key thought leadership contributions of our time.” –from the foreword by Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Common Q’s Answered by this Book:

  • What are examples of high-stakes situations?
  • What is “powerful dialogue”?
  • What is one method for addressing anger and hurt feelings?
  • What is one way to make it safe to talk about anything?
  • How can you be persuasive without being abrasive?


About the Author: Kerry Patterson co-founded Interact Performance Systems, working ten years for the firm as the vice president of research and development. Patterson has taught in the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University. He is the co-author of multiple New York Times bestsellers, one of which includes Change Anything. Patterson completed doctoral work at Stanford University. Joseph Grenny is a keynote speaker. As a business strategy expert, Grenny designs and implements corporate change initiatives, advising leaders on multiple continents. Grenny served as president of the California Computer Corporation and also as an executive of Covey Leadership Center. Granny is the co-author of Influences with Patterson. For more than 25 years, Ron McMillan has advised business executives on topics such as team development, quality communication, and leadership. McMillan, like Patterson, served as the vice president of research and development at Covey Leadership Center. Working with both union representatives and first-level managers, McMillan has transformed the perspectives of companies concerning communication. McMillan completed two advanced degrees at Brigham Young University and currently serves as a board member for the American Family Institute. Al Switzler directs training and implements management initiatives for multiple national organizations. Switzler has served in multiple roles, from president to vice president of marketing and director of training and management. Switzler currently teaches at the University of Michigan’s Executive Development Center. Switzler has taught for the Marriott School of Management. For more information on Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler, visit:


Book Vitals:

Publisher: McGraw-Hill (August 2011)

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