Crucial Conversations

The Learning & Organizational Development team, in University Human Resources office, offers open enrollment for University employees interested in Crucial Conversations courses.

What would be considered a Crucial Conversation?

A Crucial Conversation is a discussion between two or more people where 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.
What does the Crucial Conversations training course cover?

Crucial Conversations is a copyrighted course, developed by CrucialLearning, that teaches skills for creating alignment and agreement by fostering open dialogue around high-stakes, emotional, or risky topics - at all levels of the organization. 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.

Why is OSU investing in Crucial Conversations training?

In the spirit of supporting OSU's Strategic Plan, 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 have 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 at work.

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.

The Crucial Conversations model, which includes before, during, and after phases.
The Crucial Conversations course teaches individuals how to:
  • Make even the riskiest topics safe for discussion
  • Create psychological safety where people can share meaningful input on important matters
  • Talk to anyone about almost anything
  • Speak persuasively, not abrasively, when the stakes are high and opinions vary
  • Turn disagreement into dialogue, and conflict into collaboration
Organizational benefits:
  • Equity and inclusion: When people feel psychologically safe to speak up, they add their meaning to, and take responsibility for, their culture
  • Agility and adaptability: Staying agile in changing circumstances requires people who can dialogue with care in the face of stress and uncertainty
  • Ideation and innovation: In cultures of dialogue, people share novel ideas and challenge the status quo
  • Decision-making: When people can quickly surface critical information, decision-making is efficient and fueled by facts rather than ego and politics
  • Engagement and teamwork: When employees have evidence their voice matters, they see their role as vital and their contribution as critical
 Tools for Talking when Stakes are High
Program overview:

The Crucial Conversations program consists of five (5) online modules that are each 2 hours in length. Advanced registration is required; please review the Cancellation Policy regarding no-shows and late cancellations.

A $100 fee per participant covers the proprietary CrucialLearning materials required for the course; University Human Resources is supplementing the remaining program costs. Participant materials include digital copies of:

  • Crucial Conversations Participant Toolkit
  • The New York Times bestselling book, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High (4th Edition)
  • A course completion certificate 

To learn more and register for an upcoming Crucial Conversations offering, click the button below:

Register for Crucial Conversations


For questions regarding registration, click the button below:

Crucial Conversations Q & A


Want to learn more about Crucial Conversations? Contact the Learning & Organizational Development team at