3 Ways To Have More Meaningful ConversationsAug 18, 2022
Have you ever left a conversation feeling extremely satisfied? Chances are you have, but they are not always easy to come by with everyone. We often forget having a conversation is a skill that we can continuously work on with different types of people. In a world where we are constantly racing to get to the next event or meeting, it's easy to become distracted and less invested in everyday conversations. If you want to gain more from conversations such as new perspectives, fresh ideas, strengthened bonds, and a deeper understanding of people and their challenges, check out my three tips below.
1. Be Committed
There’s no point having a conversation with someone when you’re doing a million other things. To truly connect with an individual you need to give your undivided attention. Using positive body language is a great way to show that you're interested and invested in the conversation. When people feel like they are truly listened to it's easier for them to trust and open up more.
- Leaning forward slightly can show that you’re invested in the conversation.
- Avoid crossing your arms and legs and instead keep your body language open.
- Maintain eye contact, sit up straight and try not to fidget.
- Use a firm handshake
- Avoid touching your face too much as it can be a sign of dishonesty.
- Lastly, a friendly smile can say a lot about you and your openness towards people.
2. Welcome Meaningful Discussions
Stating an opinion when you don’t give the other person the opportunity to respond and discuss does not add to the conversation at all. Celeste Headlee, radio host, reporter, and professional opera singer, encourages everyone to “enter every conversation assuming that you have something to learn”. Set aside your differences and give the other person the opportunity to share their opinion. It’s okay to have two separate opinions as long as you enter the conversation without the expectation that you have to convert each other.
We have two ears because we need to listen twice as much as we speak. When we listen more new perspectives arise, bonds are strengthened and we become better at showing empathy to others. Furthermore, it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘advice trap’ where we feel like we are the experts on a topic and that we need to solve the problem straight away. A doctor does not diagnose an individual without hearing their symptoms.
3. Be Patient
If you don’t know something, it’s okay to say that you don’t know. Go with the flow and discover the answers together. If you’re wanting to learn more about someone dive into “who, what, where, when, and how?” and give the person enough space and time to describe the situation. When the other person is describing their situation try to avoid equating their experience with yours and let them have their moment.
Celeste Headlee shares a funny statement in her TedTalk, How to Have a Good Conversation, “A good conversation is like a mini skirt; short enough to maintain interest, but long enough to cover the subject”.
What opportunities could arise for you if you had more meaningful conversations?
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