Move to Action
You want to create a definite plan for being reimbursed for these
expenses, and you want it to be one you both agree on. Come to
a consensus about what will happen, and document who does
what by when, and settle on a way to follow up.
You: I’ve kept a record of all the expenses that went over
the amount that both of us agreed to contribute. Can we
sit down tomorrow to go over those and talk about what’s
fair to reimburse me for?
SISTER: Okay. We’ll talk about the estate and write up a plan
for how to divide things up.
SUMMARY- PUTTING IT All TOGETHER
If we first learn to recognize when safety is at risk and a conver
sation becomes crucial (Learn to Look) and that we need to take
steps to Make It Safe for everyone to contribute his or her mean
ing, we can begin to see where to apply the skills we’ve learned.
A visual model can also help us see where the principles and
skills are needed.
Using these tools and reminders will get us started in master
ing the skills that help us improve our crucial conversations.
A man surprised is half beaten. -THOMAS FULLER
Yeah, But Advice for Tough Cases
As we (the authors) have taught this material, we’ve grown
accustomed to people saying, “Yeah, but my situation’s more dif
ficult than that ! ” Or “Yeah, but the people I deal with aren’t so
quick to come around. Besides, most of the problems I face come
as a surprise. I’m caught off guard.” In short, people can think
of a dozen reasons why the skills we’ve been talking about don’t
apply to the situations they care about.
• “Yeah, but what if someone does something that’s really sub
tle? It drives you crazy but it’s hard to identify. How do you
• “Yeah, but what if my life partner refuses to ever talk about
anything impurtant? You can’t force a person into dialogue.”
1 94 CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS
• “Yeah, but what if I can’t calm down quickly enough? I’ve
been told not to go to bed angry, but sometimes I think I need
time alone. What should I do?”
• “Yeah, but what if I don’t trust the other person? How am I
supposed to deal with that?”
• “Yeah, but both my boss and spouse are too sensitive to take
any feedback. Shouldn’t I just let things slide?”
In truth, the dialogue skills we’ve shared apply to just about
any problem you can imagine. However, since some are more dif
ficult than others, we’ve chosen seventeen tough cases. We’ll
take a moment to share a thought or two on each.
SEXUAL OR OTHER HARASSMENT
IT’S NOT LIKE ANYONE’S BLATANTLY harassing me or
anything, but I don’t like the way I’m being treated.
How can I bring it up without making enemies?”