What’s Your Style Under Stress?

Stressed? Who, me? Never.

When stakes are high, emotions run strong, and opinions differ, we all struggle to stay cool.

But the skills taught in our bestselling book and course, Crucial Conversations, can help you dialogue in even the most difficult of circumstances.

The first step toward improving your communication skills is to identify your Style Under Stress. This 12-question quiz will help you determine whether you lean toward silence or violence.

1. At times I avoid situations that might bring me into contact with people I’m having problems with.
2. I have put off returning phone calls or e-mails because I simply didn’t want to deal with the person who sent them.
3. Sometimes when people bring up a touchy or awkward issue I try to change the subject.
4. When it comes to dealing with awkward or stressful subjects, sometimes I hold back rather than give my full and candid opinion.
5. Rather than tell people exactly what I think, sometimes I rely on jokes, sarcasm, or snide remarks to let them know I’m frustrated.
6. When I’ve got something tough to bring up, sometimes I offer weak or insincere compliments to soften the blow.
7. In order to get my point across, I sometimes exaggerate my side of the argument.
8. If I seem to be losing control of a conversation, I might cut people off or change the subject in order to bring it back to where I think it should be.
9. When others make points that seem stupid to me, I sometimes let them know it without holding back at all.
10. When I’m stunned by a comment, sometimes I say things that others might take as forceful or attacking—terms such as “Give me a break!” or “That’s ridiculous!”
11. Sometimes when things get a bit heated I move from arguing against others’ points to saying things that might hurt them personally.
12. If I really get into a heated discussion, I’ve been known to be tough on the other person. In fact, they might even feel a bit insulted or hurt.