- Most conversations today have the potential to turn into an argument
- A balance between listening and talking is what results in good conversations
- Honesty, brevity, clarity, empathy and a good amount of healthy listening are the most important ingredients of a great conversation
New Delhi, July 31, 2017: Most people, at least once, have unfriended someone on Facebook because the latter said something that offended them. Almost all of us know a person, who we go extraordinary extents to avoid talking to, and another person who we would love to have a conversation with, any hour of the day. What is it that when mastered can make a person look approachable, and the lack of which can make him look dull, boring, or simply unpleasant. It is the art of conversation.
Most conversations today have the potential to turn into an argument. We have become more polarized than ever. The tendency to prove one’s point and unwillingness to listen to the ideas/opinions of others have made us, what we call as, bad conversationalists.
We all have had conversations where one feels engaged and inspired, where one believes that they have been perfectly understood, noticed or valued. A balance between listening and talking is what results in such conversations.
Eye contact, the strategy of picking up an interesting topic, nod to show you’re listening and repeating back to show you understand are some of the advices that one usually gets in order to master the art of conversation. But, honestly, these are all outdated concepts. One doesn’t need to show they are involved in a conversation, when they are actually involved in it. Yes, involvement or willingness to listen is the number one skill to be able to have good conversations.
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One must always Keep in mind the words of Buddha, “If your mouth is open, you’re not learning.” and to add to it, are only there for a speech, not a conversation. Here are some other points that one needs to take care of, for good conversations to happen.
Do Not Multitask!
Multitasking is a crime in the world of great conversations. When you are talking to someone, be completely involved in it. You can’t be sitting there talking to a person and also thinking about what would you be doing after the session. To put simply, you have to be fully there in the conversation to make it great.
Ask questions. But questions that matter or are relevant. That’s how conversations grow. Find what interests them and talk about it. This is the easiest way to get them to open up and have a good talk.
Never equate your experiences with others!
When somebody tells you about their experience, you don’t need to tell them that the same thing has happened with you, only worse. No, this is not a competition. Experiences are individual and it’s not about you. Conversations are not promotional activities.
Stay out of the weeds!
Nobody cares about the exact date, the exact day, the exact place when something happened to you. All they care about is ‘what happened’ and ‘You’. Details are mostly boring, try to maintain a distance.
Talking to strangers is another specific area where one can conquer the art of conversation. In fact, researchers have found that people are more comfortable being honest about their inner-selves with strangers than with their acquaintances. However, there are certain rules one needs to follow while talking to strangers, according to one’s culture and country. A balance between civility and privacy is what one must aim for.
‘Hello! How are you?’ is a question that one may ask or ‘It’s a beautiful day!’, an exclamation that one may use while starting a conversation with a stranger. How the person is or how the weather is might not hold any semantic meaning, but they hold something else and something bigger, the social meaning.
Honesty, brevity, clarity, empathy and a good amount of healthy listening are the most important ingredients of a great conversation. Conversation, indeed, is an art which with practice can be mastered, however, always leaving a scope for refinement.
-by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha