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Crucial conversations are important, but ones I didn’t always want to have. It might have been regarding a tough performance review, salary negotiation, addressing insubordination or a hygiene issue. According to the authors of Crucial Conversations, we’re in crucial conversations when emotions run strong, the stakes are high, and opinions differ greatly. I have a paperback and Audible copy of the book. The information contained within it is that profound.

I know the material well enough to present it. However, applying the steps are much harder when emotions run strong, the stakes are high, and opinions differ greatly. No matter which side you lean toward, could you imagine having a constructive crucial conversation regarding COVID mask wearing, MAGA or BLM? Without the knowledge and emotional where withal it won’t go well.

Rather than retreat to an echo chamber, I want to be a bridge to understanding if not agreement and away forward. This requires developing the ability to see through the eyes, hear through the ears and feel through the heart of a friend, loved one or potential adversary. The first thing I do is examine my degree of openness, willingness to being fully present and listen without judgment. Rather than respond immediately sometimes I take a moment to process what was said. I look for common ground. If we find it great; if not, we agree to respectfully disagree. At the end of the day, I prefer to live in understanding in the community and/or at work.

Think about a relationship you care about. If you engaged in a crucial conversation would you be better off than before it? These, so called, soft skills are hard.