The Art Of Conversation Is Dying

Arnold Lakhovsky, The Conversation (circa 1935)

‘Conversation (noun): talk between two or more ​people in which ​thoughts, ​feelings, and ​ideas are ​expressed, ​questions are ​asked and ​answered, or ​news and ​information is ​exchanged.’

I’m really worried that the verbal conversation is dying. I fear that one day all people will ever talk about is the weather or what they ate for lunch (even though it’s probably on Instagram). Some people just can’t carry a conversation, some are happy to sit by listen and contribute now and again. Others may not feel confident or have enough conviction in the point or ideas they are trying to convey. One of the troubles with technology driven communication is that you have a lot of time to compose and put your point of view across. This causes you to tailor your response, lose some intensity or mis-communicate your point. Having a verbal conversation lends itself to being more open, honest and generally a more positive experience.

Being incredibly self-centered in a conversation is probably one of the worst things you can do to stifle or break-up a conversation. There are generally two reason this happens. You firmly believe that everything you say has more weight and value than others or that you have confidence issues that mean you have to seek validation or approval from your peers. I am very conscious of the fact I come across as self-centred at the moment and it’s down to my confidence. This post is a reminder to myself to take my own advice. It pains me to write this as a basic guideline of how a conversation works and how to sit down and have a ‘conversation’

How to have a better conversation:

1) Actually fucking listen to what the person is saying.

2) If you don’t hear something clearly, don’t pretend you heard it. Ask them to repeat themselves.

3) Ask relevant questions, don’t be afraid to ask someone to clarify if you’re unsure

4) Chill the hell out, if what you are wanting to say is so important you’ll remember it instead of blurting it out and disrupting the flow of conversation.

5) It’s okay for people to have different opinions and for them to challenge your point of view. This is not a cue to get defensive or become entrenched in your view. Fight your corner but also don’t be afraid to concede that you may be wrong

6) Include other people in the conversation, reach out ask someone’s opinions or thoughts on the subject.

These are just a few simple things that people (myself included) do forget and are worth remembering. Have yourself a better conversation this Christmas.

Thanks for reading,

Andy