Crucial Conversations : Notes: Part II


ü  They are our interpretations of facts.

ü  Explain what we see and hear.

ü  Help us evaluate the situation.

ü  Tell us what we should do about the situation.

ü  Once told they take on a life of their own.

  We tell ourselves a story to explain what is going on.

  Even if we don’t realize it we tell ourselves a story.

  Any set of facts can be used to make an infinite number of stories. If we take control of our stories they won’t control us.


Why do we tell these stories?

ü  Sometimes they match reality. ƒ

ü  They get us off the hook. Excuse us from responsibility

ü  Keep us from acknowledging our own sellouts

Victim Stories – “it’s not my fault”

  • We are innocent sufferers
  • We ignore the role we play in contributing to the problem
  • We have nothing but the most noble of intentions

Villain Stories – “it’s your fault”

  • We attribute negative motives to the other person
  • We exaggerate our own innocence
  • We overemphasize the other person’s guilt
  • We dehumanize the other person by making unfair generalizations
  • We justify our own ineffective behavior

Helpless Stories – “there’s nothing else I can do”

  • We assume there is no alternative to our predicament
  • Explains why we can’t do anything to change our situation
  • Attribute fixed and unchangeable traits to the other person      


In Summary, Emotions don’t just happen. You and only you create your emotions. You can act on them or be acted on by them.


See/Hear – Tell a Story – Feel – Act

Act                                         Am I in some form of Silence or Violence?

 Feel                                       What emotions are encouraging me to act?

Tell a Story                          What story is creating these emotions?

See/Hear                             What evidence do I have to support this story?


Retrace your Path

  Notice your behavior. If you find yourself moving away dialogue, ask yourself what you’re really doing.  

  Am I in some form of silence or violence? 

  Get in touch with your feelings. Learn to accurately identify the emotions behind your story.

  What emotions are encouraging me to act this way? 

  Analyze your stories. Question your conclusions and look for other possible explanations behind your story.

  What story is creating these emotions? 

  Get back to the facts. Abandon your absolute certainty by distinguishing between hard facts and your invented story.

  What evidence do I have to support this story?   

  Watch for clever stories. Victim, Villain, and Helpless Stories sit at the top of the list. 


Useful Stories

  To turn victims into actors – ask:

§  What am I pretending not to notice about how I contribute to this problem?

§  Am I minimizing my role while exaggerating the role of others?

  To turn villains into humans – ask:

§  What would cause a reasonable, rational, decent human being to do what they are doing?

§  Replace judgment with empathy and self-justification with personal accountability.

§  Worry less about other’s intentions and more on the effect their actions have on Us.

  Dialogue is “the only reliable way of discovering others’ genuine motives”.


To turn the helpless into the able – ask:

  What do I really want? For me?

o   For others?

o   For the relationship?     

  What would I do right now if I really wanted these results?


Create emotions that lead to healthy productive action – dialogue.

Mastering Crucial Conversations

  Master the content. 

o   Recognize what works and what doesn’t, and generate new scripts of your own.

  Master the skills. 

o   Enact these new scripts in a way that is consistent with the principles.

  Enhance your motive. 

o   Find ways and techniques to make learning Crucial Conversations skills desirable and easy.

  Watch for cues. 

o   Look for signs and opportunities to apply your new skills.



It’s very important to learn from our mistakes. Nobody is perfect in this world.  Learning these skills will definitely help in career development.


It takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

Happy Learning!!!


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