The Art Of Conversations

It’s now clear that the most significant factor in how connected we feel with others is the quality of our conversations.

Not every conversation has the power to help us feel connected. Accelerated by the dominance of text, over 80% of our conversations are banter exchanges of news, weather, sports, and most of all, gossip. They entertain more than connect. We can banter with the same people for years and not feel a particularly sustainable emotional connection.

How connected we feel isn’t necessarily related to how long we’ve known someone, how obligated we feel to them or the media of our conversation. It isn’t necessarily related to how entertaining conversations can be. How emotionally connected we feel is based on a single factor: the level of interest we express in each other.

91% of participants in the global study I did for “The Art of Conversations” report that feeling emotionally connected is directly related to mutual personal interest.

We engage in personal interest on two levels. We express curiosity about the content of what others are saying. When someone talks about their day, we show interest in details not yet described. We also express curiosity about the context of how they feel. We ask about how a specific event was for them. We ask how they felt, what it meant for them, how it fits into their personal narrative, what questions it raised for them.

The reason the other conversation genres don’t create connection is that mutual interest doesn’t occur. In awkward, tense, utility and banter conversations, we’re volleying observations, positions, issues, details, updates and stories. Actively showing mutual interest through the curiosity of questions has the distinctive power to connect us together.

Feeling connected expands trust. Without trust we remain guarded, defensive, competitive, awkward, tense, critical and unaligned. The more we create a sense of connection through mutual interest, the more trust grows in our connection.

Trust opens space us for us to be open, receptive, caring, generous, aligned, present, flexible and creative together. This is the power of connecting conversations.


Based on “The Art of Conversations” | Jack Ricchiuto 2016 DesigningLife Books. For more about the book visit JackRicchiuto.com