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Is good conversation a dying art?

Photo by Marina Sirazetdinova on Pexels

Is good conversation a dying art? When was the last time you really had a good face-to-face conversation with someone? Many of us would really have to think hard for a response.

Good conversation is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh

In the world of technology, phones, and other devices do people still talk to each other or do they only message? People find it easy and more convenient to message than to have a conversation.

The winning virtue of any electronic communication is ease and convenience.

During my childhood, we had no mobile phones. So every evening when the family gathered in the living room before dinner, it was to talk to each other, tell stories about how each of us had spent the day, discuss any challenges and collectively find a solution. It was a fun-filled evening. We felt very close to each other. Today the same living room observes a different setting. We all come together, but we are busy with our phones and messaging each other even though they we are in the same room.

Importance of conversation

Meaningful conversations have become a thing of the past. Rarely do we think about having a good, meaningful conversation. At home or in the office, we feel more comfortable texting or emailing than picking up the phone and making a call to talk to someone. There are several reasons and excuses given. The common excuse is we are too busy to talk. And you cannot speak while you are on a zoom call or doing some office work on your laptop. But you can read and respond to messages.

This problem has exponentially increased during the pandemic because social distancing norms do not allow people to meet face to face. Having a meaningful conversation is crucial, and it is essential that everyone knows how to do it. During my career, there were several instances when I had to have a tough conversation with a colleague, a subordinate, and even a friend. Having such conversations is never easy, but is crucial as it helps clear up the air.

Millennials find it difficult to have conversations of any kind. They feel more comfortable texting or emailing. But an email or text message will sound more impersonal and create more misunderstandings than help diffuse any tension.

In the corporate world, the more face-to-face meetings take place, the more it helps create closeness with teams, colleagues, clients, and stakeholders. I remember my boss would give me lessons on building client relationships during my sales career. He would insist that I make cold calls and meet prospective clients in person instead of sending emails.

Face to Face conversation

Sherry Turkle in her book Reclaiming conversation explains,“Face-to-Face conversation is the most human and humanizing thing we do. Fully present to one another, it’s where we learn to listen. It’s where we develop the capacity for empathy. It’s where we experience the joy of being heard, of being understood.”

Effect of a pandemic on socialization and communication skills of children.

Back in school after the lockdown, young children are finding it difficult to interact with each other. The transition from online classes to physical presence and class activities has become difficult. Teachers are finding it difficult to get the children to open up and speak in the classroom.

My neighbor's old daughter refused to go to school. She even refused to interact with kids her own age. She was more comfortable with the online classes and talking to her friends on the phone and on WhatsApp.

Children of all age groups are missing out on learning how to have a difficult and challenging conversation with another human being.

Sadly, The truth about the plugged-in world, is that good conversation is dead in a world full of chaos.

“One good conversation can shift the direction of change for ever.” Linda Lambert



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