Are your chats with colleagues about the weather, the patchy video call connection or the quality of the coffee in your building?
There are ways to make the conversations deeper, more interesting and generally “saltier”.
Colossians 4:6 urges us to:
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
1) Godly Conversations Have a Basic Formula
A formula for conversations that involve deeper themes and emotions is defined for us in Colossians, the two main factors are grace and salt. What does “salt” mean though? How can we “season” our conversations?
Salt provides seasoning or flavour (see also Job 6:6). So a ‘salty’ conversation is one that is not bland or dull but has a bit of spice in it. It’s provocative conversation that will challenge people to move beyond the mundane to the meaningful.
For example, A man recently shared with me a stressful situation he is in with a dodgy, deceitful and money-hungry builder. I listened carefully and empathized with him. I was gracious.
But I could have been more ‘salty’ by saying, “Why are people like that?” or “I can tell this is a worry for you. I’m a Christian—would you mind if I prayed for you?” I think he would have appreciated it.
2) Take Some Risks
Being ‘salty’ in our conversations is a challenge to some of us. It takes courage to take a risk and say something provocative. Maybe these suggestions will help you to be more ‘salty’.
As per the example above, offer to pray for people who are anxious.
Try to move conversations to deeper topics—things like the purpose of life, human nature, or life after death. For example, some news reports referred to school shootings as “evil”.
You could ask, “What makes that an evil act?” or “Why do people do stuff like that?” And see where the conversation leads.
3) Be Yourself At Work
If people are talking more deeply about an issue, throw in, “As a Christian I believe…” and give a biblical perspective on the issue.
Recognize and articulate God’s sovereignty over all of life. For example, you could say, “I’ll see you tomorrow, God willing” or “Thank God for the rain yesterday; my garden was so dry”.
4) Play the Long Game
We don’t have to turn EVERY conversation to being directly about Jesus. Part of the Grace side of meaningful conversations is asking questions that show you are interested in your colleagues values and beliefs.
For example, if a colleague shares that they are upset about a particular meeting and the way someone behaved, you could ask them how you think people should behave. You could ask “How do you think people should act in meetings? Why do you think people don’t behave the way they should?”
When you ask your colleague what they think is important, you are opening a door about morality, truth and human nature. These conversations are much more meaningful and rarely mundane.
This week, pray and put in a little effort to have more ‘salty’ conversations with your non-Christian work colleagues. See where this leads.