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Angela M. Odom

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What's a Crucial Conversation?

2021 communication podcast May 25, 2021

Are you up for a summary of chapter 1 of the book, "Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When The Stakes are High"?  The title of the foundational chapter is "What's a Crucial Conversation?" 

First, its a easy read for a topic we can't avoid. Effective leaders really must develop the skill of engaging in crucial conversations. 

Relationships are the priority of life, and conversations help us care for our relationships with talking and listening. The quality of your life comes out of the quality of your dialogues and conversations. Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler — the founders of VitalSmarts — helps you think about what you really want to say.

What’s a Crucial Conversation?

A crucial conversation, as defined by the four authors, is a discussion between two or more people where stakes are high, opinions vary and emotions run strong.

The effects of conversations gone bad can be both devastating and far reaching. Research has shown that strong relationships, careers, organizations and communities all draw from the same source of power — the ability to talk openly about high-stakes, emotional, controversial topics.

Masters of Crucial Conversations
Twenty-five years of research with 20,000 people and hundreds of organizations has taught experts that individuals who are the most influential — who can get things done and at the same time build on relationships —are those who master their crucial conversations.

People who routinely hold crucial conversations and hold them well are able to express controversial and even risky opinions in a way that gets heard. Their bosses, peers and direct reports listen without becoming defensive or angry.

Improve Your Organization and Health
In the best companies, everyone holds everyone else accountable — regardless of level or position. The path to high productivity passes not through a static system but through face-to-face conversations at all levels. 

The ability to hold crucial conversations also has an impact on your personal health. The evidence is mounting every day. The negative feelings we hold in, the emotional pain we suffer and the constant battering we endure as we stumble our way through unhealthy conversations slowly eat away at our health. In some cases, the

The book, "Crucial Conversations" is one of the 10 books on AngelaO Reading List. I created a top 10 reading list for people committed to leading teams confidently. 

My intent is for each reader to approach each recommended book with an open mind. I want them to leverage the different perspectives so that they may take a new or different approach to conflicts and projects. 

The objective is for each individual to experience a shift in their thinking so that they may become more influential, confident and effective leaders. 

Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by authors Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler provides insights into how to handle crucial conversations well, influence others and get things done. 

At the heart of almost all chronic problems in our organizations, our teams, and our relationships lie crucial conversations— this book allows us to learn how to hold crucial conversations well.  

We invite you to join us for the book review and discussion on Wednesday, August 4, 2021 at 7 pm EST via Zoom. Get a copy of the book summary at

As mentioned in this episode, Click HERE to schedule a 20 minute session via Zoom with Angela to see if you are a good fit to work with her on her Become A Better Leader in 100 Days Program.  

Much Love and Much Respect,



Angela M. Odom is a life and leadership coach, founder of The Better U Project brand, podcast host, proud Army veteran and the author of BRONCO STRONG: A Memoir of the Last Deployed Personnel Services Battalion and a contributing author to the book, "Camouflaged Sisters: Leadership Through The Eyes of Senior Military Women Leaders". 

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