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Making Crucial Conversation Plan

Read

Crucial Conversations, Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Chapters 5 – 8 (pages 73 – 175 in the paperback edition). I recommend that you take notes while you read and see what you will be writing in the written assignment below).  

Write Your Crucial Conversation Plan 

Identify a crucial conversation that you anticipate you will have in the future. (Remember, a crucial conversation is a discussion where stakes are high, opinions vary and emotions are strong.) If possible, it should be work related, such as with a coworker, client, customer or supervisor. If a work-related conversation isn’t possible, think of some other organization you are a part of: a team, a class, a religious organization, a volunteer group – the list is endless. Think of a person or group of people where the conversation gets derailed because of differing opinions on important and emotional topics, i.e., it’s a crucial conversation. Write your paper about how you could apply the Crucial Conversation techniques to make this future conversation more open; where everyone contributes to the “pool of shared meaning” so better decisions would be made.

This will be a personal analysis of your own interpersonal communication skills and how you plan to improve by using the Crucial Conversations method. This will seem mechanical and, of course, speculative. But it will help you identify in slow motion what you later want to be able to do quickly in the heat of the moment.

Beyond describing the conversation in the first section, your paper should not be about the topic of the conversation. Your paper should be about how you will turn a crucial conversation into dialogue where everyone can contribute. And only write about the requested information in each section – don’t get ahead of yourself! 

You do not have to provide private, sensitive or personal information about anyone or the organization.

Your paper must be double-spaced and at least four pages so write concisely and clearly. Proofread your paper – your writing is important. 

Then create a bolded heading for each of the following sections. Be specific about how you will use the Crucial Conversation tools from our class and the book.  

My Crucial Conversation (this is the first bolded heading)

In one paragraph, describe the potential conversation you are analyzing and explain how it is a crucial conversation, i.e., how opinions vary, the stakes are high and emotions run high. (Make each of the three a bullet point and explain how the conversation you are describing meets each of the three parts.)

Notice When Safety is at Risk (Learn to Look)

Explain when you think the conversation will become crucial, that is, when safety becomes a problem and people move toward silence or violence. Describe what you anticipate seeing and/or hearing that tells you it is becoming crucial.

I Will Work on Myself First

What do you notice about yourself? How are you reacting to the situation? Describe how you think you will react – with silence or violence?

Answer these questions that will return you to dialogue:

What do I really want for myself?

What do I really want for others?

What do I really want for the relationship?

Remember, this about you will think and act, not how the other people have acted or should act. 

How I Will Stay in Dialogue When I’m Angry, Scared, or Hurt (Master My Story)

Answer the following questions:

Are you stuck in silence or violence?

Analyze the story you are telling yourself: are you telling a victim, villain or helpless story? What are your emotions behind your story?

What are the facts you need to get back to?

I Will Make It Safe to Talk

To have a dialogue, you must regain safety. Describe how you will step out of the troubled conversation and ask yourself:

Is mutual purpose or mutual respect at risk?

Is an apology appropriate?

Should you use contrasting, that is, use a “don’t/do” type statement?

Do you need to create a new mutual purpose?

“STATE” My Path

Explain how you will use “STATE”: 

Share my facts

Tell my story

Ask for others’ paths

Talk tentatively

Encourage testing

Assignment 2: Due Wednesday, 12/16 at 10:00 PM EST

Choose one topic to write on. The length of your response must be no less than 600 words and no more than 1000 words. Give your paper a title that embodies the gist of your argument, and clearly indicate what question you will be addressing. Limit your response to Part I of Raymond Aron’s Peace and War.

  1. Given an account of Raymond Aron’s thoughts on strategy and diplomacy. What are their relations to policy? Reference an example or examples that Aron uses to help elucidate his theory.

 

  1. Aron makes use of numerous examples to ground his theory of international relations. Trace how he makes use of one throughout Part I of the text. For instance, you could discuss in the different sections and chapters how he employs an example from WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Cold War, or the Algerian War for Independence as a concrete case of how his theory can capture an aspect of historical reality. The key is to use the example and how it is discussed in the separate chapters as a thread to connect together Aron’s thoughts on international relations.

 

  1. In a number of places Aron speaks of concepts of international relations as applying to the international system “up to the Atomic Age.” Discuss especially what he means by the new character of the “coordination of diplomacy and strategy” after 1945 (42). How is this connected to “the diversity of panoplies” (43) and “scientific-technological competition” (66)?

 

  1. According to Aron, what is the relation between industry and the military? Does this relation modify Machiavelli’s teaching that a good army is the foundation of everything else? Also, what examples does Aron give to show how a nation’s industry concealed its military potential to the point where enemies underestimated its true strength and military capacity?

 

  1. How is the policy of equilibrium expressed differently in bipolar and multipolar systems? How has the attempt to outlaw war challenged a foreign policy based on equilibrium? How has the policy fared after the development of thermonuclear weapons?

 

Be sure to cite the text when making your argument. Here is an example: Rousseau argues that perfectibility is unique to human beings (114-115). Also, do not use block quotes or quote extensively from the text. Simply paraphrase the section you are referring to in the text and then place the page number at the end of the sentence.

Reading: Raymond Aron, Peace and War: A Theory of International Relations (Transaction Publishers, 2003)

 

 

Assignment 3: Due Wednesday, 12/16 at 10:00 PM EST

Choose one topic to write on. The length of your response must be no less than 600 words and no more than 1000 words. Give your paper a title that embodies the gist of your argument, and clearly indicate what question you will be addressing.

  1. In Part IV of Peace and War, Aron begins the section with two chapters on morality and international politics. What are the dominant positions discussed, and what is Aron’s own position with regard to morality in international relations? Do you find his position satisfactory, or do you favor one of the other two that he mentions?

 

  1. What does Aron mean by the Machiavellian problem on the one hand and the Kantianproblem on the other (577)? What is his response to these problems in light of the chapters contained within Part IV?

 

  1. Give an outline of Aron’s moderate strategy in the context of the thermonuclear age. What strategies for him would be too extreme in either being too forceful or too yielding in this context?

 

  1. Give an account of Aron’s discussion of power politics. What does Aron see as a fundamental error with the American approach to power politics as portrayed in the thinking of Hans Morgenthau?

 

  1. Give an account of Aron’s discussion of post-WWI international law. What does Aron see as a major problem of the pure theory of international law (Hans Kelsen)?

 

  1. How does Aron’s concept of the political (see, especially, p. 50) keep him from falling into the extreme positions taken by advocates of power politics on the one side and advocates of international law on the other?

 

  1. What does Aron mean by peace through empire? What are some of the major obstacles to this kind of peace, according to Aron?

 

Be sure to cite the text when making your argument. Here is an example: Rousseau argues that perfectibility is unique to human beings (114-115). Also, do not use block quotes or quote extensively from the text. Simply paraphrase the section you are referring to in the text and then place the page number at the end of the sentence.

Reading: Raymond Aron, Peace and War: A Theory of International Relations (Transaction Publishers, 2003)

 

 

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