I recently listened to a TED Talk on conversations expertly delivered by one Celeste Headlee.
It was so informative that I took what I consider to be great notes, which I have sparked up for you here.
Now, maybe you’re not the frequent bell clapper I am. Or rather, you may not relish talking to other people as much as I do.
However, I believe at some point we all engage in conversation with somebody, and hopefully want our conversations to go smoothly, which is to say, we have to also put our best feet forward to attain.
One-sided conversations can go belly up quickly, especially if we do all the talking, interrupt when somebody else is talking, never actually listen to what the other person is saying, and/or think we are the only one whose opinion is of any consequence, forgetting that everybody on the planet knows something we don’t about something.
Go figure. We might actually Learn Something “NEW” by taking the time to converse in such a way that you come away feeling the conversation was worth having.
1. Prepare to Be Amazed by something the other people tells you. Believe it or not, I have actually had questions I’ve poised to the Universe answered while conversing with other people.
So, why not be in the moment, and see what you get answered.
2. Don’t Pontificate. I wasn’t sure about the meaning of this word, so I looked it up. When conversing with someone, it’s very helpful not to chime in with your opinion as if yours is the only one that’s correct. Or, you’re the scholar when it comes to this particular subject.
How long do you think the conversation will remain enjoyable if you do this?
3. Be interested enough to ask open-ended questions using words like, Who, What, When, and Why?
A great example might be: “What was that like for you?”
4. Get Into the Flow of the conversation. Stay with the current subject, doing your part to keep it interesting.
5. If you don’t know something about something, fess up, and say you don’t know. Maybe, you can also say, you’ll be happy to check into it.
6. Let the other person share their experience without feeling the need to share what you think compares or tops it.
Be in the conversation for them, not to promote yourself. After all, aren’t experiences unique to each individual?
7. Have a point? Share a point. O-N-C-E!
Repeating it over and over again gets gabby and doesn’t strengthen it.
8. Stay out of the weeds. Who actually cares about dropped names, dates, and other over-rated details?
9. Listen with intent to understand.
Stephen Covey said: “Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand, but to reply.”
Being a talker, yes, I would prefer to be talking. However, as I have learned, as long as my mouth is open, I’m not learning.
In fact, I’m actually controlling the conversation, which suggests that I’m only interested in the words coming out of my own mouth, and not the other person’s.
10. Prepare to be brief.
Celeste said that her sister gave her food for thought when she said: “A good conversation is like a mini-skirt. Short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover the subject.”