Balancing the Art of Conversation


Before you read this week’s blog turn off your cell phone or silence it.  Be present, read and process.  That is step one.  Ready?

Why are we losing the art of conversation?  Do you know what the ingredients are for a good conversation?

Technology has certainly played a huge reason of losing face to face communication.

How many of you have unfriended someone on Facebook because you could with no one knowing? Did they say something that offended you? your beliefs?

Growing up I remember hearing as a young girl to never discuss politics or religion.  Where did this belief come from?

Teenagers are sending a minimum of 100 text messages a day. They are not learning, practicing, honing or executing conversational competence. Engagement through screens is not interpersonal skills.

Is this not a skill needed for the 21st century and going forward – good old fashioned conversation with everyone? Teenagers will need this skill for their chosen career.

When I look back at what I was taught over my academic years for effective communication and also attending an interview these were the strategies:

  1. Have eye contact
  2. Speak about interesting things to talk about
  3. Nod
  4. Smile
  5. Pay attention
  6. Repeat back what you heard

If you are truly listening and paying attention are these 6 strategies really necessary?

Celeste Headlee has 10 great strategies to be present in a conversation:

1. Don’t multitask (be present in that moment)

2. Don’t pontificate

3. Everybody is an expert in something

4. Use open ended questions (who/what/where/when/how)

5. Go with the flow (thoughts will come in your mind — let them go)

6. If you don’t know – say you don’t know (err on the side of caution)

7. Don’t equate your experience with the person you are speaking too

8. Try not to repeat yourself – it’s condescending and boring!

9. Stay out of the weeds! Lose the details, tell the story and be you!

10. LISTEN!

We talk at the rate of 225 words per minute, yet we listen up to 500 words per minute.

“A good conversation is like a miniskirt; short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover the subject”. -My Sister


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