A group of workers having a conversation

The Art of Conversation

Hello Friends!

Spending a few weeks in Canada was absolute heaven for me. Getting to see my family and a few friends after a 2-year absence was balm for my soul. I swear I felt a weight fall off my shoulders once I was finally able to hug my parents again!!
 
It’s summer time in the northern hemisphere and as the world opens up, we are finally able to meet each other in person again! It’s been a long time. Many of us have been isolated for months now, and as we all re-emerge from lockdowns and virtual life, it’s a bit like the ad for Extra gum that went viral a few months ago – everyone enthralled with being able to be outside and get together, but a bit shell-shocked and uncertain how to do so! 😊

TED TALKS

It can’t be coincidence that the topic of conversation – and how to be a good conversationalist – has come up a lot in my recent reading & listening. Have we maybe forgotten a little how to have a meaningful in-person conversation?? Digital communication is great [and imagine how hard lockdown would have been without it!!], but I find it is often a series of consecutive monologues, rather than a true dialogue.

As Celeste Headlee says in her TED Talk, “You need to enter every conversation assuming that you have something to learn“. I love that perspective. This witty, engaging and interesting talk on “10 ways to have a better conversation” is definitely worth 10 minutes of your time. There’s a reason it has almost 25 million views! One quote I found particularly on-point was from Paul Barnwell “I came to realize that conversational competence might be the single most overlooked skill we fail to teach…Is there any 21st century skill more important than being able to sustain coherent, confident conversation?” Really something to think about.

One of my all-time favourite TED Talks – without question the TED Talk I’ve referred to and recommended most – is Julian Treasure’s “How to speak so people want to listen”. My favourite part is his toolkit for speaking, where he outlines the 6 tools we have for using our voice. Prosody (also known as the melody of speaking) is for me the most powerful. Such an impactful and insightful talk!

TIPS TO A GOOD CONVERSATION

If you’re wondering if you are in fact a decent conversation partner, this article on the 6 best habits of good conversationalists is a helpful resource. I found #1 – be a good listener, and #4 – they are well-read to be especially important. [And there are lots of suggestions in my newsletters and on my blog to help you out with #4! 😉 ]

In case you’re not entirely convinced of your conversational prowess, Hidden Brain has done an interesting podcast on Why Conversations Go Wrong. Often it isn’t necessarily a lack of conversational ability that’s at issue, but rather conflicting conversational styles. Culture, gender, age, education – there are lots of factors that influence both how we communicate and how we receive communication. 

And last, but most definitely not least, a talker needs a listener! Every good conversation requires at least 2 parties – one speaking, and one listening. (And hopefully alternating roles as necessary!). Being a good listener is fundamental to being a good communicator. There are in fact four different types of listening: deep listening, full listening, critical listening and therapeutic listening. Are you skilled at all four??

I hope you have lots of scintillating conversations this summer, and get a chance to enjoy some live chats with friends & family!!

My time in Canada was full of conversation and catching up with loved ones. I hope I put the above skills to the test. 😉  It did mean I wasn’t spending as much time reading as usual, so this week there is no fiction recommendation. I’d love to know what YOU are reading this summer! Anything worth recommending?? The summer holidays have just gotten started in Bavaria and I’m looking for my next page turner! 😊
 
I would love to hear which resources you enjoy and which you’d like to see more of!
 
Stay healthy! And have a wonderful weekend.

Until next time!

Hugs,

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Quotation "all problems exist in the absence of a good conversation".

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