Conversations can be categorized as either small talk or deep meaningful conversations. Sometimes small talk helps people warm up to each other and acts as a gateway to deeper conversation. As useful as small talk is, it is the deep conversation that brings more value to our lives. Happiness and meaningful conversations go hand in hand. We are intrinsically programmed to create meaning in our lives, deep conversations help us do that by developing and nurturing relationships. All human beings are social animals who have a need to connect with others. Satisfying conversations create connections between people thereby satisfying our innate need to be socially connected to other people.
How do we engage in more meaningful conversation ?
Like everything else in life, it all begins with an intention. Listening along with brevity, clarity, and honesty are some of the basic ingredients of a good conversation. In a good conversation we listen without judgement and take criticism lightly.
Some tips for engaging in good conversation:
1. Listen with empathy. Listen attentively and emphatically. Let other people dominate the conversation and remain attentive. Focus on what the other person is saying rather than focusing on what you should say next. Avoid interrupting even if you have something important to add. Silent attention draws people out and makes them believe that you are interested in what they are saying.
2. Allow for silences. Silence need not be awkward. Learn to be comfortable with yourself and with others in silence. Silence gives us time to take in and reflect on the information provided to us. It allows us to gain insight and gives us space to respond in the correct and thoughtful way. If we are comfortable in silence others around us also get the same vibe and that creates a peaceful vibe where everyone is able to relax. In such peaceful and relaxed environment people are more likely to share their feelings and insights honestly.
3. Be sincere and sensitive. Express yourself honestly and openly without being rude. Look people in the eye when you are listening and talking to them. Clever and insincere people are easy to detect and once detected, people lose interest in them. Be genuinely
interested in other people’s interests and opinions.
4. Don’t be judgmental. Be curious and observe. Don’t let preconceived notion seep into your analysis. Not all observation has to end in a conclusion. If you notice some traits in others that you don’t understand or don’t identify with, let it go. Being judgmental creates division and makes us narrow minded. We get what we give. If we want others to stop judging us, we have to stop judging others!
5. Know when to break or end a conversation. All conversations have to end at some point. Knowing when to break a conversation is actually as important as knowing how to start one! Let people know the time boundary and then be completely attentive for that time period. Let them know how much you enjoy talking to them before moving on to the next thing.
Introvert or extrovert, no matter how we define our personality, we all need to engage in conversations. Meaningful conversations are very important to create an atmosphere of well being.
Let’s end our conversation on this beautiful quote by Linda Lamert
“One good conversation can shift the direction of change forever.“