Tools For Talking: Crucial Conversations

  • Reading time:6 mins read

On any given day, my husband often said, “We need to have a crucial conversation.” In my mind, I’m thinking what could be so important to talk about day-to-day. He loved communicating about our children, taking and picking them up from school, what’s for dinner, putting clothes in the laundry, etc. Even on Saturdays and Sundays, he just wouldn’t let up. He still found things that were crucial for us to communicate about. What activities are scheduled for family time on Saturday, buying groceries for the following week and preparing late Saturday evenings for Sunday service?

Then, the process started all over again on Sunday night for the following week. Our crucial conversations may have varied some, but not too much.

Now, as empty-nesters. He has taught me the gift of having crucial conversations in every area of my life. I’m not perfect, but, I got it. I didn’t realize all those “crucial conversations” through the years gave me the practice I needed to work through the process of sharing my opinions, while working through my emotions.

Job Well Done! Right?

For us, our crucial conversations were not when the stakes were high, our opinions varied, and our emotions were all over the place. These crucial conversations allowed time to openly share our opinions, [during pressured moments] all while learning to control our emotions.

First, we believed in the covenant we made with one another and we keep that covenant at the forefront of all of our decisions. I can’t say that we have never had intense moments of fellowship and our emotions were not all over the place. But, through the battle of crucial conversations, we learned to perfect the gift of communication…

Difficult conversations are just hard to have. There’s no way to avoid it. Whether those conversations take place at home or work, with neighbors, significant others, or with our spouse, crucial conversations can have a profound impact on the way we live our lives. Those conversations can also impact our careers, how joyful we are daily.

Crucial Conversations can also have an adverse impact on our lives, careers and so many other areas that we are connected to. We have to learn to remain cool to get the expected outcomes we are searching for. I think mastering crucial conversations is one of the most important skills we can have.

Conversation gives us the social support we need in healthy relationships. Whether we are talking to our friends, colleagues and family members, this helps us to put things in perspective, which intentionally helps us to process and cope with things when we don’t have a plan or ways to resolve issues were facing.

Photo by Jacob Johnson on Unsplash

But, be careful. You want to have conversations with people that you can trust while helping you be resilient with making decisions that will impact you a lifetime. All advice is not great advice.

I also believe we will never master the art of crucial conversations because conversations are not courses we take in college. It’s a lifetime practice we work through trying to get it right. And, that perfection only comes through practice “trial and error.”

Through our practice, it’s equally important to maintain rapport with the people we are having crucial conversations with. It allows us to build trust. This should be the ultimate outcome.

As grandparents, we want to cultivate those same habits. That same confidence with our grandchildren. We are having those crucial conversations with our 2-year-old and 12-year-old. Of course, the conversations are much different with both. However, our goal is to help them process conflict and to work through conversations that may be a little uncomfortable and frustrating for them.

For instance, our 2-year-old wants cookies before dinner, we have to explain why cookies are not good before dinner, while training him how to express his frustrations at that very moment. I’m confident he’s processing and learning how to speak to others respectfully [through frustration], as well as understanding; no is a part of life.

Keep in mind. It’s a Practice!

Check out these conversational starters. Even if you’re not a great conversationalist. These conversation cards can help guide you through engagement as you learn to bond, resolve conflict, and communicate in many positive ways. []