by Tandi Robertson


Top 10 business books

One of the top 10 in the business category for 2012
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Over two million copies have been sold worldwide and Crucial Conversations is still achieving accolades. The 2012 Publishers Weekly Bestsellers List released in January 2013 sees Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High placed number 10 in the business book category. Helene Vermaak, clinical psychologist and The Human Edge partner, says the continuing success of the book reinforces the role crucial conversations have in every individual’s life - from chief executives to secretaries, sales teams and receptionists.


Research conducted in 2012 by the leading training and consulting organisation, The Human Edge, revealed that the biggest challenge facing businesswomen in South Africa is having the ability to be able to hold a crucial conversation. Vermaak says: “This is a vital skill that we should all possess, as it can have an instrumental effect on our careers and personal lives.” 


She says that we all face crucial moments that disproportionately affect everything that is important to us.  “There are moments when how we act will affect our career prospects, strength of relationships and results that you, your team or organisation produces.” 


Research has revealed that when facing a crucial moment, 95% of respondents struggle to speak up to their colleagues about their concerns. “Instead of being candid and addressing conflict, people tend to engage in avoidance tactics,” says Vermaak. Complaining, getting angry, ruminating excessively about the issues, doing unnecessary work or avoiding the person altogether are avoidance tactics that people adopt.


“The concern is that when people are unwilling or unable to hold crucial conversations and others accountable, they act out their concerns in ways that lead to the suffering of results and relationships."     


Crucial Conversations is the first book in a series of VitalSmarts best-sellers that will give readers the skills set to prepare for high-stakes conversations, transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue, and to be able to hold others accountable for their actions.


Vermaak concludes: “We know that when stakes are high, emotions run strong and opinions differ, it is difficult to be calm, reasonable and put your point of view across effectively. Crucial Conversations shares a distinct and learnable set of skills that will produce immediate results.”


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This edition

Issue 83


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