Crucial Conversations Q&A

This Questions and Answers page contains frequently asked questions (FAQs) concerning the Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue program.

Sections in this FAQ include:


Contact [email protected] to learn more!

Program Overview

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.

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.

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

These principles and skills can benefit your organization in the following ways:

  • 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

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.

Course Fee and Cancellation Information

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

  • A 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

If you were to enroll in a Crucial Conversations training outside of OSU, the fee for the course would be $1,436.00.

Your registration will be in “Waiting for Approval” status until your Budget Authority submits the approval form that is attached to your email confirmation when pre-registering. If your Budget Authority does not submit the budget approval form by the 5-working day deadline, then your pending registration will be rejected. If this occurs, you will receive an email notification.

You will receive an email approving your enrollment once the form is received. If you have not received the email, then your enrollment is still in Waiting for Approval status. If this is the case, we suggest you follow up with your supervisor/budget authority.

Please review the cancellation policy for information about no-shows, late cancellations and other items.

Our cancellation policy can be found here.

Workshop Options

There are currently two formats available for registration:

  • In-person (Corvallis Campus) includes five 2.5-hour sessions
  • Remote (Zoom) includes five 2-hour sessions and 30 minutes of homework

The format differs every term - please note the format prior to registering for an upcoming offering.

This program is available to groups and teams of 12 or more, in the following formats:

  • Online workshop (five sessions)
  • In-person workshop (five sessions)
  • Blended learning (self-paced learning supplemented with facilitated group discussions)

Please contact [email protected] with your request.