8 Things That Must Happen In Order To Have A Conversation


A friend mentioned to me that a certain nationality of people are the worst to talk to. “They only talk about themselves, they don’t ask questions.” I credit this horrible communication skill to the overworked employee and social media, not just one nationality.

In a society run by Capitalism, relationships between people can be tainted- sugar coated in customer service, or non existent in cubicles. So, when some people have the chance to interact, they vomit their thoughts onto others- kind of like we do in status updates- and call it a conversation.

A conversation is the exchange of ideas. This is not to be confused with making conversation, which can be done to avoid awkward encounters, or just to interact for the sake of it. There are several things that must happen to conclude that an exchange of ideas has taken place, other wise it is just an exchange of words- if you can even call it that.

Mutually agreed on  topic of interest. 

Talking about our day is a nice ice breaker, but not what we all want to hear about for an hour after the long, exhausting 8 we spend laboring. If you know the person, it’s an ideal gesture to mention something relevant to their perspective, or if not you find some common ground. The last thing anyone wants to do after a long day or week working, is work to listen to your idea of work.

Understand, don’t just listen.

To understand something, especially coming from another person, is to appreciate it in their terms. Much different than “hearing” something, which requires no further thought analysis. You determine what, how, and why something was said, and build on it.

Ask questions, and give analytical feedback. 

A conversation is like ping pong, you get the ‘ball’ and hit it back from another point of view. When people talk, it’s to share something. And if not, you’ll find that out by asking questions. Don’t change the subject immediately back to you or to something unrelated unless it’s relevant to the topic.

Maintain the right amount of eye contact. 

There is such thing as too much eye contact, and the same holds true for the opposite. Keeping focus towards another person shows your engaged, but forcing eye contact to the point of staring is just creepy and distracting.

The conversation is the focal point. 

According to molecular biologist and author of Brain Rules, we really can’t multitask two important things at once. There is no such thing as responding to an e-mail while fully understanding what someone else is saying to you.

One person talks at a time. 

When genuinely interested in what another person has to say, you listen rather than talk over them. Listening allows opportunity to gain something, where talking will allow just to regurgitate what you already think you know. Even the most heated debate should only have one person voicing an opinion at a time. If not, there is no exchange of ideas happening.

Silence, sans awkward. 

A moment of silence, when wrapping your mind around new intellectual thoughts, is necessary to put ideas into perspective. Every moment of the conversation doesn’t need to be filled, and it’s a good sign if it’s not.

Give and take are in balance. 

After a real conversation has taken place, both parties leave feeling inspired or enlightened on a topic. Ideas shared are in proportion to ideas received, depending on who the conversation is with.

In a world where sharing is so prevalent, when is sharing too much? This is a fine line that many of us still haven’t figured out. Outside of our cubicles and status updates exist other functioning intelligent human thought, and it’s important to keep our own to ourselves sometimes and let someone else take the spotlight for a while. Who knows, you might just learn something.

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1 comment:

  1. Muy muy muy interesante. Necesito más tiempo porque yo no traduzco el inglés, lo deduzco, jaja, y así es más lento.


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