Having Better Conversations

Today, on a whim, I decided to watch a TED Talk. It’s really been a while since I’ve dived back into personal self-development, and decided to think about the things I want to improve about myself. One of them is having better conversations with people and feeling comfortable doing it.

It’s crazy how mobile phones have changed how we communicate nowadays. We all typically text each other and it’s a normal thing. It’s definitely easier and probably less scary. One of the things I personally need to work on is having those face to face conversations as it really does make a difference when you’re talking to someone else. I believe that a friendship or relationship is more meaningful when you’re able to have those in-person conversations.

In this TED talk, Celeste talks about having better coherent and confident conversations and gives 10 things to keep in mind when having conversations with others.

This is what I got out of her talk:

  1. Don’t multitask. Be present, and be in that moment when talking to someone else. Try not to think about other things, and don’t be half in and half out.
  2. Don’t pontificate. Enter a conversation with the mindset that you have something to learn, set aside your personal opinion. Everyone you meet knows something you don’t.
  3. Use open-ended questions such as – who, what, when, why and how. Try asking things like, “what was that like?” and “how did that feel?” so they can think about it which will likely result in giving a more interesting response.
  4. Go with the flow. Thoughts will come into your mind. Let them go out of your mind.
  5. If you don’t know, say you don’t know. Err on the side of caution. Talk should not be cheap.
  6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. For example, if they talk about the loss of a family member, don’t compare your experience with theirs as all experiences are individual. Conversations are not a promotional opportunity.
  7. Try not to repeat yourself as you may come across as condescending.
  8. Stay out of the weeds. People don’t care about the details. They care about what you like and what you have in common.
  9. Listen. Listening is the most important skill you can develop. If your mouth is open, you’re not learning.
  10. Be brief. “A good conversation is like a miniskirt, short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover the subject.”

Go out, talk to people, listen to people,
and be prepared to be amazed.

And here’s the video if you want to check it out!