26 Awe-Inspiring Quotes from Crucial Conversations

Joseph Grenny is a four-time bestselling author and founder of VitalSmarts. As an innovator of corporate training, Grenny focuses on the best ways to increase performance. As the author of ‘Crucial Conversations,’ Grenny communicates how to handle talking when the stakes are high. Here is a look at some of the best inspiring quotes from ‘Crucial Conversations.’

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in baskets of silver.”

“An apology is a statement that sincerely expresses your sorrow for your role in causing—or at least not preventing—pain or difficulty to others.”

“As much as others may need to change, or we may want them to change, the only person we can continually inspire, prod, and shape—with any degree of success—is the person in the mirror.”

“At the core of every successful conversation lies the free flow of relevant information.”

“Each of us enters conversations with our own opinions, feelings, theories, and experiences about the topic at hand. This unique combination of thoughts and feelings makes up our personal pool of meaning. This pool not only informs us, but also propels our every action.”


“Goals without deadlines aren’t goals; they’re merely directions.”

“I have known a thousand scamps; but I never met one who considered himself so. Self-knowledge isn’t so common. ”

“In truth, everyone argues about important issues. But not everyone splits up. It’s how you argue that matters.”

“Instead of getting hooked and fighting back, break the cycle. See their aggressive behavior for what it is – a sign of violated safety – then step out of the conversation, build safety, and step back into the content.”

“It’s the most talented, not the least talented, who are continually trying to improve their dialogue skills. As is often the case, the rich get richer.”

“Nothing fails like success. In other words, when a challenge in life is met by a response that is equal to it, you have success. But when the challenge moves to a higher level, the old, once successful response no longer works—it fails; thus, nothing fails like success.”

“One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears—by listening to them.”

“People who are skilled at dialogue do their best to make it safe for everyone to add their meaning to the shared pool–even ideas that at first glance appear controversial, wrong, or at odds with their own beliefs. Now, obviously they don’t agree with every idea; they simply do their best to ensure that all ideas find their way into the open.”

“Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.”

“Remember, to know and not to do is really not to know.”

“Second, clarify what you really don’t want. This is the key to framing the and question. Think of what you are afraid will happen to you if you back away from your current strategy of trying to win or stay safe. What bad thing will happen if you stop pushing so hard? Or if you don’t try to escape? What horrible outcome makes game-playing an attractive and sensible option?”

“Skilled people Start with Heart. That is, they begin high-risk discussions with the right motives, and they stay focused no matter what happens.”

“Start with Heart. The first question is: ‘What do I really want?’…How would I behave if I really wanted these results?”

“Stories provide our rationale for what’s going on. They’re our interpretations of the facts…change the stories you tell yourself.”

“The mistake most of us make in our crucial conversations is we believe that we have to choose between telling the truth and keeping a friend.”

“The Pool of Shared Meaning is the birthplace of synergy.”

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. ”

“What do I really want for myself? What do I really want for others? What do I really want for the relationship?”

“When it comes to risky, controversial, and emotional conversations, skilled people find a way to get all relevant information (from themselves and others) out into the open.”

“When under attack, our heart can take a similarly sudden and unconscious turn. When faced with pressure and strong opinions, we often stop worrying about the goal of adding to the pool of meaning and start looking for ways to win, punish, or keep the peace.”

“You don’t have to choose between being honest and being effective.”

With more than 2 million copies of ‘Crucial Conversations’ sold and 28 languages translated, Grenny discusses how to go about having conversations when the stakes are high. This business self-help book was initially published in 2002. Here is a look at some of Grenny’s best advice shared in the below video.

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