Your Style Under Stress Test
What kind of a self-monitor are you? One good way to increase your self-awareness is to explore your Style Under Stress. What do you do when talking turns tough? To find out, fill out the sur vey on the following pages. Or, for easier scoring, visit www.cru cia1conversations.comlsus. It’ll help you see what tactics you
typically revert to when caught in the midst of a crucial conver sation. It’ll also help you determine which parts of this book can be most helpful to you.
Instructions. The following questions explore how you typi
cally respond when you’re in the middle of a crucial conversa tion. Before answering, pick a specific relationship at work or at home. Then answer the items while thinking about how you typ ically approach risky conversations in that relationship.
T F 1 . At times I avoid situations that might bring me into
contact with people I’m having problems with.
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T F 2. I have put off returning phone calls or emails because I simply didn’t want to deal with the person who sent them.
T F 3 . Sometimes when people bring up a touchy or awk- ward issue, I try to change the subject.
T F 4. When it comes to dealing with awkward or stress- ful subjects, sometimes I hold back rather than
give my full and candid opinion.
T F 5 . Rather than tell people exactly what I think, some- times I rely on jokes, sarcasm, or snide remarks to let them know I’m frustrated.
T F 6. When I’ve got something tough to bring up, some- times I offer weak or insincere compliments to soft- en the blow.
T F 7 . In order to get my point across, I sometimes exag-
gerate my side of the argument.
T F 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.
T F 9. When others make points that seem stupid to me,
I sometimes let them know it without holding back at all.
T F 1 0. When I’m stunned by a comment, sometimes I say things that others might take as forceful or attack- ing-comments such as “Give me a break! ” or “That’s ridiculous ! ”
T F 1 1 . Sometimes when things get heated, I move from
arguing against others’ points to saying things that might hurt them personally.
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T F 1 2 . If I get into a heated discussion, I’ve been known
to be tough on the other person. In fact, the person might feel a bit insulted or hurt.
T F 1 3. When I’m discussing an important topic with others, sometimes I move from trying to make my point to
trying to win the battle.
T F 1 4. In the middle of a tough conversation, I often get so caught up in arguments that I don’t see how I’m
coming across to others.
T F 1 5 . When talking gets tough and I do something hurt-
ful, I’m quick to apologize for mistakes.
T F 1 6. When I think about a conversation that took a bad tum, I tend to focus first on what I did that was wrong rather than focus on others’ mistakes.
T F 1 7 . When I’ve got something to say that others might
not want to hear, I avoid starting out with tough conclusions, and instead start with facts that help them understand where I’m coming from.
T F 1 8. I can tell very quickly when others are holding
back or feeling defensive in a conversation.
T F 1 9. Sometimes I decide that it’s better not to give harsh feedback because I know that it’s bound to cause
T F 20. When conversations aren’t working, I step back
from the fray, think about what’s happening, and
take steps to make it better.
T F 2 1 . When others get defensive because they misunder- stand me, I quickly get us back on track by clarify- ing what I do and don’t mean.
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T F 22. There are some people I’m rough on because, to be honest, they need or deserve what I give them.
T F 23. I sometimes make absolute statements like “The fact is . . . ” or “It’s obvious that . . . ” to be sure I get my point across.
T F 24. If others hesitate to share their views, I sincerely
invite them to say what’s on their mind, no matter what it is.
T F 25. At times I argue hard for my view-hoping to keep others from bringing up opinions that would be a waste of energy to discuss.
T F 26. Even when things get tense, I adapt quickly to how others are responding to me and try a new strategy.
T F 27. When I find that I’m at cross-purposes with some- one, I often keep trying to win my way rather than looking for common ground.
T F 28. When things don’t go well, I’m more inclined to see the mistakes others made than notice my own
T F 29. After I share strong opinions, I go out of my way to invite others to share their views, particularly
T F 30. When others hesitate to share their views, I do whatever I can to make it safe for them to speak
T F 3 1 . Sometimes I have to discuss things I thought had been settled because I don’t keep track of what was discussed before.
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T F 32. I find myself in situations where people get their
feelings hurt because they thought they would have more of a say in final decisions than they end up having.
T F 33. I get frustrated sometimes at how long it takes
some groups to make decisions because too many people are involved.