Crucial Skills®

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Aren’t Crucial Conversations skills just good negotiation tactics packaged in a slightly different way?

Emily Hoffman

Emily Hoffman is a Master Trainer and Senior Director of Client Training and Employee Development at VitalSmarts.


QAren’t Crucial Conversations skills just good negotiation tactics packaged in a slightly different way?

AGood question. I think the answer depends on how you are thinking about negotiating. If by negotiating you mean to speak openly and honestly in a way that encourages others to do the same so that you can get all of the meaning into the discussion, then I would agree – we teach skills for negotiating. If however, by negotiating you mean talking to someone to try to get your way, or as much of your way as possible while giving up as little ground as possible, then that is not what we teach.

In “Start With Heart” you learn to recognize what it is you really want for yourself, for the other person, and for the relationship. If your answer to the question “What do I really want?” is to win, to save face, or to keep the peace, then you are going to be negotiating, not dialoguing. If your goal is to learn, produce results, and strengthen relationships, then you are more likely to use the skills to dialogue. I often say that any skill can be used for good or for evil – it is all about your intent.

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