Crucial Conversations: Why You Need to Have Them

Everyday, each of us have encounters with real people. Some with coworkers. Some with an upset customer. Some with a server in a restaurant. Some with the woman behind the rental car counter. Some with our spouse. Some with our children. Some with a close friend.

A crucial conversation occurs when “opinions vary, stakes are high, and emotions run strong” (Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzer, 2012). Every one of these conversations will produce a result. Was it life-giving or life-taking? Was it encouraging or discouraging? Was it oxygen or carbon dioxide? Was it God-honoring or dishonoring?

Far too often, I fail. I miss the opportunity to breathe life into another person. Why is that? Why do we sometimes miss these simple opportunities to enrich someone else’s life?

We’re busy.
We’re preoccupied.
We’re selfish.
We’re focused.
We want to win.
(Fill in the blank with your reasons.)

Recently, I purchased a car. The vehicle I wanted was at a dealership I had never been to. Like many of you, I dreaded the experience. But this time, I decided I was going to do my best to make this car-buying experience God-honoring.

There was the usual negotiation tension, but as we went through the buying/selling process, I found more and more opportunities to breathe life into the salesman. The process continued as I met with the finance manager, and then finally with the service men. All along the way, there were a few crucial conversations. These conversations were opportunities to show genuine interest in them and their work, even as we hammered out details in the buying/selling process.

Did my words and behavior breathe life into these four men? I really don’t know. But I know this … I tried. So much of living our faith at work is simply making the effort.

What can this look like in your life today? How can your crucial conversations have a godly influence in the lives of those whom God brings across your path today?

“The tongue can bring death or life.” – Proverbs 18:21a

NOTE: My mentor recently recommended a powerful book to me called Crucial Conversations. A New York Times bestseller with over 3,000,000 copies sold, Crucial Conversations is both illuminating and practical in shaping the conversations that shape our relationships and lives. Our Workmatters team is focusing on this book in 2017 because we want our conversations at work, at home, and with each of you to be life-giving.

I would love to hear your feedback or answer your questions at

Your work matters,

David Roth
President, Workmatters

Works Cited:
Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzer, 2012. Book. McGraw-Hill.
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