Summary of Crucial Conversations

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

Crucial Conversations book summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans




  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy once said, “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” These wise words were never truer than in today’s business world. Many people recoil from “crucial conversations,” where they have to negotiate to get ahead. But as the saying goes, “In business, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” Kerry Patterson and his team of fellow co-writers and leadership consultants describe various techniques for effective negotiation and conflict resolution in the context of important, potentially life changing conversations. Examples include talking yourself into a promotion, bringing up important information at meetings and working out problems with your spouse. Some tips will sound familiar, such as knowing what you really want and being open to alternatives. However, the book also highlights some themes that people often forget in negotiations, such as making it safe for others to express their true feelings and desires. The authors explain how to avoid getting forced into false “either/or choices” and tell you how to remain alert for unstated alternatives or possibilities. This lively book includes many examples drawn from business and personal relationships. getAbstract recommends it in particular to those who are new to negotiations and conflict resolution, though it teaches solid skills that any manager – or any spouse, for that matter – could benefit from mastering.

About the Authors

Kerry Patterson, a consultant on culture-change projects, developed video-based training programs. Joseph Grenny is an executive coach. Ron McMillan, co-founder of the Covey Leadership Center, is a leadership consultant. Al Switzler teaches at the University of Michigan. The authors founded VitalSmarts in 1990 and wrote The Balancing Act: Mastering the Competing Demands of Leadership.



Recognizing a “Crucial Conversation”

Crucial conversations are those everyday interactions that significantly affect your life. They differ from ordinary dialogues because the opinions of the participants vary, their emotions are high and the stakes are significant. The way in which you deal with these important discussions can have a positive or negative result and change the course of your life. Some examples of crucial conversations include breaking up with a partner, giving your boss feedback or asking for a pay rise. Often, people shy away from such conversations or handle them poorly. The best way to deal with these types of situations is to face the conversation and handle it with skill.

Research with more than 20,000 people in hundreds of organizations showed that influential people – those who have successfully achieved their goals and built strong personal and professional relationships – develop an ability to handle crucial conversations effectively. They are skilled in discussing difficult, controversial, high-stakes topics. Cultivating that ability will improve your career prospects, your relationships and even your health. You will increase productivity...

More on this topic

By the same authors

Crucial Accountability
Change Anything
Crucial Confrontations

Customers who read this summary also read

We Can’t Talk About That at Work!
Collaborating with the Enemy
The Inspiration Code
What Are Your Blind Spots?
Leadership in Focus
Negotiating with a Bully

Related Channels

Comment on this summary

  • Avatar
  • Avatar
    O. K. 6 months ago
    Nice toppic and course
  • Avatar
    F. H. 6 months ago
    very interesting cours
  • Avatar
    P. G. 2 years ago
    Interesting read.
  • Avatar
    B. S. 3 years ago
    This public summary is much better:
    • Avatar
      Manav Kataria 3 years ago
      Thank you for sharing. I will definitely take a look.
  • Avatar
    J. M. 4 years ago
    Useful. Can't help draw comparisons to Covey's "Seven Habits". I have this books but have never read it. Not sure how I feel about reading it now that I've listened to the abstract
  • Avatar
    A. S. 4 years ago
    Really helped with forming backbone of future difficult conversations
  • Avatar
    L. C. 4 years ago
    Listen to the full audiobook. Worth it.
  • Avatar
    S. M. 5 years ago
    Really great content, so good I have recommended it in our Managers toolkit!
  • Avatar
    M. B. 6 years ago
    Outstanding book, one that I wish I had been able to read about 500 Crucial Conversations ago. Better late than never!
  • Avatar
    A. C. 6 years ago
    great title
  • Avatar
    G. K. 7 years ago
    This book and the others in the series were game changers for me. I'm excited to have the abstracts on my Kindle to keep me on track.