Tools for Talking When Stakes are High

Crucial Conversations Logo

Whenever you are not getting the results you are looking for, it’s likely a crucial conversation is keeping you stuck.  Whether it’s a problem with poor quality, slow progress, declining stakeholder satisfaction, or a strained relationship on the team – whatever the issue- if you can’t talk honestly, you can expect poor results.  This is why we are offering this course to the campus community. 


What is Crucial Conversations Training?

Crucial Conversations is a 16-hour copyrighted course (developed by VitalSmarts) that teaches skills for creating alignment and agreement by fostering open dialogue around high-stakes, emotional, or risky topics – at all levels of the university.  By learning how to speak and be heard (and encouraging others to do the same), you will begin to surface the best ideas, make the highest –quality decisions, and then act on your decisions with unity and commitment.


What is a Crucial Conversation? 

A Crucial Conversation is a discussion between two or more people where the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong.  These conversations – when handled poorly or not at all – lead to strained relationships with dismal results.


Crucial Conversations Triangle

What does Crucial Conversations Training Teach?  

Crucial Conversations teaches participants how to:                                                                              

  • Speak persuasively, not abrasively
  • Foster teamwork and better decision-making
  • Build Crucial Conversation acceptance rather than resistance
  • Resolve individual and group disagreements


Crucial Conversations Model

Why is MSU investing in Crucial Conversations Training?

In the spirit of Service Excellence, Crucial Conversations training can improve the safety, reliability, courtesy and competence of the employees working for our university.  Through Crucial Conversations, we learn to see issues through the lens of the stakeholder, make it safe to dialogue on important issues, work more effectively as committed team members, and problem-solve in ways that reduce barriers.  Crucial Conversations can help team members learn to use their voices to discuss risky topics, have their opinions heard, participate in decision-making, and address challenging situations in the office.  Organizations around the world have used Crucial Conversations Training to improve results in productivity, quality, team work, relationships, performance and efficiency. 

Crucial Conversations training is an investment in the professional development of our human capital and will lead to more effective teams and informed decision-making. 


When is Crucial Conversations offered?

PD&T, housed in the Office of Human Resources, offers open enrollment Crucial Conversations courses throughout the year. The sessions are offered in four modules that are 4-hours each. A minimum enrollment of 12 participants is needed to conduct a Crucial Conversations training course, with a maximum of 24.

The next open enrollment dates are:

Module I:     Monday, April 2nd   1:00-5:00 PM

Module II:    Monday, April 9th   1:00-5:00 PM

Module III:   Monday, April 16th 1:00-5:00 PM

Module IV:   Monday, April 23rd  1:00-5:00 PM 

To register visit HR Training Registration 


PD&T can also arrange to offer Crucial Conversations to your unit (minimum of 12) in a time-frame that works for you.


Why is there a fee?

The $325 fee per participant covers the proprietary VitalSmarts materials required for the course and for catering provided during the sessions.  Participant materials include:

Crucial Conversations Book

  • Crucial Conversations Participant Toolkit
  • Cue cards for each lesson in a desktop display case
  • Crucial Conversations model card
  • A copy of the New York Times bestselling book, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High (2nd Edition)
  • Crucial Conversations Audio Companion MP3 Download
  • A course completion certificate

If you were to enroll in a Crucial Conversations training outside of MSU, the fee for the 16-hour course would be $1350.


What course graduates are saying about Crucial Conversations:

 "It made me reflect on how I respond and act during crucial conversations. I will be able to use the training directly in my job." 

"The training creates a framework that can be applied in a wide variety of situations.  It is comprehensive not just a quick fix."

"The training gives specific advice and clear tools to use."


Want to talk about Crucial Conversations training with PD&T?

Contact Liz Bradley