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spike bullet October 2012 - Crucial Conversions Skill: Learn to Look

Our Style Under Stress
Summary: Learn to Look skill    
Are you willing to change?
Resources (links, books, articles, the lighter side)
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color bulletOctober 2012 - Crucial Conversions Skill: Learn to Look

We are facilitating a book study group using the second edition of the book, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High.  One of the many skills we are learning is "Learn to Look" - to pay more attention to our own reactions, thoughts and feelings, as well as the reactions, thoughts and feelings of others when we have crucial conversations.  

(For an overview of the first edition of the book, see our article from September 2007).

Our Style Under Stress

When we are having any conversation, it can turn crucial with no warning.  When we learn to look for the signs of stress in our self and in others, we can then choose to calm ourselves, control our reactions, temper our responses and guide the conversation in a way that results in both parties feeling respected and working out a mutually agreeable solution.  

Taking some time to learn our own style under stress helps us learn our habit patterns, so that we can more easily notice when we are reacting in a way that is harmful to successful conversation.  The website has a quick online assessment quiz that helps identify our personal Style Under Stress.  

Once we understand our own style under stress, we can watch for the physical signs, emotional signs and behavioral signs that get us into trouble.  Once we know what gets us in trouble, we can begin to identify ways to change our behavior in more successful ways.

Examples of signs we might experience under stress: stomachache, headache, feeling itchy, feeling angry, feeling depressed, feeling inadequate, racing heart, chills, hot flashes, aggressiveness, withdrawing, hiding our feelings, attacking others, calling people or ideas by derogatory names or any number of other unpleasant reactions.

By learning more about how WE react and working toward understanding our own self, we can also learn to recognize the signs of stress in others.  

Once we become more aware fo these signs of stress, we can consciously choose to behave differently.  We can learn that we are not in danger and start to listen to the other person, instead of feeling afraid or fearful.  Once our mind and our emotions are engaged in a healthy way, we can have a good dialog with the other person and work out whatever issues are going on much more easily than if we are fighting, withdrawing or trying to control the other person. 

The authors say, If you can catch signs that the conversation is starting to turn crucial — before you get sucked so far into the actual argument that you can never withdraw — then you can start dual-processing immediately.    ... When it is safe, you can say anything.

In the book and in the training classes, they offer video and in-class examples of how to turn a potentially "bad" conversation into a "good" conversation.

Summary — LEARN TO LOOK skill: 

When caught up in a crucial conversation, it's difficult to see exactly what's going on and why.  When a discussion starts to become stressful, we often end up doing the exact opposite of what works.  We turn to the less healthy components of our Style Under Stress.  

To break from this insidious cycle, Learn to Look.  

  • Learn to look at content and conditions.
  • Look for when things become crucial.
  • Learn to watch for safety problems.
  • Look to see if others are moving toward silence or violence.
  • Look for outbreaks of your Style Under Stress. 

Are you willing to change? 

If your conversations are not working out the way you want them to, maybe it's time to try a different approach.  Our own personal experience with the Crucial Conversations program has been life-changing and relationship-changing for the better.  

  • Is it easy to change our own behavior under stress?  Not always; it takes time to learn how to do it and to remember to do it consistently.  
  • Do our conversations turn out better when we do it differently than before?  Yes, significantly better!  
  • Is it worth making the effort to change?  Absolutely!  Practice, practice and more practice are the keys to success. 

We all have conversations that went bad and would like a "do over."  With the Crucial Conversations skills, we can learn to do just that, so that our future conversations work the way we want them to. 

  Internet Resources

book graphic  Books   -  Disclosure: We get a small commission for purchases made via links to Amazon.

  • Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, 2nd Edition.   Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler.  McGraw-Hill 2011.   ISBN-13: 978-0071771320
  • Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations and Bad Behavior.  Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler.  McGraw-Hill 2004.  ISBN-13: 978-0071446525
  • Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting.  Wayne Dyer.  Hay House, 2012.  ISBN-13: 978-1401937270
  • Income Without a Job: Living Well Without a Paycheck.  Michael Jay Anthony, Barbara J. Taylor., 2008  ISBN-13: 978-0-557-00377-8.  Website:  Tap into your own creativity and use  your full potential.  Learn how to see opportunities that others miss.   

world wide web - articles  Articles

Related newsletter articles:
  September 2007 - Crucial Conversations
  June 2008 - the Art of Making Conversation
  August 1997 - Improving verbal communications
  April 2000 - The Art of Listening
July 2006 - Giving and Receiving Feedback
March 1999 - Dealing with Difficult People
  September 2003 - Dealing with Difficult People
July 2000 - Dealing with Co-Workers We Don't Like
  April 2007 - Tips for dealing with workplace jerks
  May 1999 - Respect in the Workplace
June 1999 - Personality Dragons
  July 1999 - Slaying the Personality Dragons
Seven Principles of Spirituality in the Workplace

smiley graphic  The Lighter Side  

You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You were not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly.
— Rumi
(from Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting by Wayne Dyer.)


About our resource links:  We do not endorse or agree with all the beliefs in these links.   We do keep an open mind about different viewpoints and respect the ability of our readers to decide for themselves what is useful.

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