Monday, July 5, 2010

Tools for Talking

One of the best things about working at the House of James is that we do not sell egg-beaters. I love working in a retail environment that provides and promotes products that have life-changing potential. “Change your mind, change your life” is one of my mantras.

Since becoming a retailer 14 years ago, I have attended many self-improvement seminars. Resources and tools have been made available for me to become a savvier manager, a more understanding colleague, an increasingly productive employee, a friendlier salesperson. Easily muddled by visual and sensory overload, I learned long ago that I will not be able to grasp and assimilate 100% of the data deluging me. Best to come away with just one nugget gleaned, one paramount truth, one new practice.

This coping mechanism stood me in good stead as I worked my way through the book Crucial Conversations late last year.
The four authors themselves suggest that you read, practice, read, practice. The sub-title is “Tools for talking when stakes are high”. A quote at the very beginning of the book reminds us why we all need to do better at relating to one another. “The void created by the failure to communicate is soon filled with poison, drivel and misrepresentation.”

A goldmine of advice, you'll want to read with a highlighter. Allow the insights to percolate. I cannot imagine anyone not benefitting from implementing the principles explained. I use what I learned from this book almost every day. When I find myself in a discussion where stakes are high, emotions are volatile and the other person is starting to look like a terrorist, it helps me SO MUCH to mentally stand back and ask “Why would a reasonable, rational, and decent person act like this?”

Although not new, (it was written in 2002), it is such a valuable book that I bought a copy for both my husband and myself. -Becky

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