Mastering the art of Critical Conversations

American Management Association

How long?

  • 2 days
  • online, in person

What are the topics?

American Management Association


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Who should attend

Anyone who wants to be better prepared to manage critical conversations that can have a significant impact on relationships at work.

About the course

Face up to high-stakes or emotional conversations with results-oriented skills

If you're like most people, you run into trouble when conversations turn from routine to crucial. Your body’s natural fight-or-flight response takes over. The knee-jerk response is to run and dodge the topic, hide behind an email, or just wing it and hope for the best.

Productivity stems from face-to-face communication, as well as your ability to express controversial and risky opinions effectively. Don’t just walk away. Attend this course and practice using real-life models to conduct difficult conversations on any topic. You’ll gain the skills and summon the courage to step up, speak openly and honestly, and get results that count.

How You Will Benefit

  • Determine your “hot buttons” and take steps to manage your emotions
  • Transform relationships by addressing real issues with authenticity
  • Openly express opinions that can lead to success and productivity
  • Give and receive feedback without negativity
  • Self-monitor your reactions and keep calm during critical conversations
  • Develop advance strategies for managing critical conversations as well as getting them back on track
  • Improve your ability to shape results and get things done

What You Will Cover

  • Analyzing elements of a critical conversation
  • Understanding your physiological response and when emotional hijacking occurs
  • Recognizing your default mode under stress and your preferred conflict style
  • Practicing tools to deal with various emotional responses
  • Examining your beliefs and self-fulfilling tendencies
  • Identifying remedies to manage critical conversations when they get off track
  • Preparing for and practicing different types of critical conversations
  • Diagnosing and addressing problems while having critical conversations
  • Practicing having critical conversations “on the fly”


Learning Objectives

  • Identify Situations That Require Critical Conversations and Plan for Them Accordingly
  • Determine the Best Conflict Management Strategy to Deal with a Given Critical Conversation
  • Self-Monitor Your Reaction and Keep Calm During Critical Conversations
  • Develop Strategies for Getting a Critical Conversation Back on Track

What Is a Critical Conversation?

  • Identify Types of Conversations That Are Most Challenging
  • Define the Elements of a Critical Conversation
  • Analyze Your Experience

Managing Emotional Responses

  • Understand Your Physiological Response Under Stress
  • Recognize Your Default Response to Stress
  • Understand Conflict Modes
  • Recognize Your Preferred Conflict Mode

Understanding the Critical Conversation

  • Determine Goals for Your Critical Conversations
  • Identify the Types and Sources of Conflict
  • Keep a Conversation On-Track
  • Utilize Effective Communication Skills During a Critical Conversation
  • Practice Effective Listening to Ensure a More Successful Outcome

Preparing for Critical Conversations

  • Identify Factors to Consider When Deciding How to Proceed with a Critical Conversation Using a Critical Conversation Model
  • Choose the Appropriate Conflict Mode for the Situation
  • Visualize Your Desired Outcome for Each Conversation
  • Anticipate Others’ Reactions in Critical Conversations

When a Critical Conversation Catches You Off Guard

  • Keep Calm When Confronted with an Unexpected Critical Conversation
  • Recognize and Deal with “Hot Buttons”
  • Turn a Negative Situation into a Positive One Through Reframing
  • Draw Out Underlying Concerns with Questions
  • Problem-Solve to Come Up with Acceptable Trade-Offs in a Critical Conversation

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Mastering the art of Critical Conversations at American Management Association

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