How hard is it to talk? Isn’t it what we’re doing for a large part of our waking hours? But how much of our talking time is actually used for having a conversation? A conversation is when you talk to someone, engage in a meaningful dialogue. It is an essential tool for building relationships, expressing ideas and opinions, and learning from others.
The art of holding a conversation is a subtle skill that has been honed by humans over centuries. At its core, the art of conversation is about the exchange of ideas, emotions, and experiences between people. But alas, like all other good things, the art of conversation too is slowly becoming obscure in essence.
I remember those times when as kids we would take the customary long train rides to reach our grandparents’ house in a quintessential small town. We were kids but we could overhear the interesting conversations going on in our coupe or in the next. After a few hours of the journey, it felt like a family travelling together. Sharing our food, exchanging information, talking about anything and everything. It was quite something.
What makes a conversation?
Those were conversations. One-to-one. Open, engaging, informative and most importantly respectful. A good conversation requires active listening, open-mindedness, and a willingness to learn from others.
To engage in a good conversation, one must first establish a connection with the other person by asking open-ended questions, showing interest in the other person’s life and experiences, and actively listening to their responses.
Yes, having a conversation also involves listening; not just nodding your head or looking into the phone but actually listening. Active listening means paying attention to the other person’s words, body language, and tone of voice. It also involves asking follow-up questions and clarifying any points of confusion. I remember reading a book quite some time back which explored the importance of active listening in building strong relationships.
Once a connection has been established, the conversation can move on to deeper topics. Meaningful conversations are those that explore the complexities of life, ranging from politics, religion, philosophy, and personal experiences. It is essential to be respectful of other people’s opinions, even if they differ from your own. Most importantly, it means avoiding interrupting, belittling, or dismissing the other person’s views. It also means being willing to learn from others and expanding your own worldview.
Managing difficult conversations
However, not all conversations are easy. Sometimes, we may need to navigate difficult conversations, such as discussions around controversial topics, personal conflicts, or emotional experiences. In these situations, it is essential to approach the conversation with empathy and compassion.
To navigate difficult conversations, it is important to practice active listening and reflection. This means acknowledging the other person’s emotions, summarizing their perspective, and expressing your own feelings in a respectful and non-confrontational manner.
It also involves seeking common ground and finding ways to move forward in a productive manner. While it may not be possible to always reach a resolution, the goal of a difficult conversation should be to gain a deeper understanding of the other person’s views and experiences, and to build empathy and respect for them.
A beautiful skill worth acquiring
The art of conversation is a skill worth developing and nurturing. It’s a sad sight when you look around. People are meeting up at the ‘it’ places, dressed to the tee with the latest trends, flashing the smartest smartphones. but after the hi-hellos, there’s very little personal interaction. Each one is busy updating their status or location with the reels or pictures. At the end of hours of ‘meeting up’, how many minutes did one honestly spend in actually ‘catching up’? Just a thought.
Try and recollect when was the last time you had a conversation with anyone – friend, neighbour, children, husband, parents? Maybe you can try to keep the phone away for some time and actually try to connect personally with the person in front of you. Believe me, there won’t be any network connectivity problems!
We may have hundreds of followers and amazing networks, but still, the need for the personal touch is wanting. No amount of likes or shares can replace that. Isn’t that the reason we still enjoy hanging out with our friends over a cup of coffee or lunch? Human connect cannot be replaced. And what better way for building relationships, than by sharing a memorable conversation?
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