For many of us, the Covid era feels like it’s on the wane. 👍 👍 to all those who got their vaccinations as soon as it was possible. We’re not out of the woods yet, but we appear to be making good progress (at least in most of the U.S.) Good conversation was definitely harder to come by for most of us during Covid. Our thoughts now turn to a post-Covid world, in which we can once again, connect. Enforced isolation is passing. It’s time to reboot, to explore how to have satisfying conversations, in which you talk about what matters to you, express yourself authentically, and connect deeply. Not just communication, but good communication. How about really satisfying communication? How about Mindful Conversation?
I ask people what are you looking forward to, post Covid. At least 75% say something about “connecting again.” We are eager to engage again. Visits with friends, in-person classes, job interviews, dates, business meetings, casual chats at the grocery store, gatherings at the coffee shop or the restaurant. A subliminal question that underlies each of these once again possibilities is “How to express yourself authentically? How to connect deeply?” We don’t just want conversation, We want “good conversation.”
What is “Good conversation”?
What does this simple phrase mean to you? Who have you known that you would consider to be a “good conversationalist”? Why? What do they do? What do they not do? How do you feel and behave in their presence? Do you create good conversations? How? When? With whom? The question I propose is, “What makes a good conversationalist?” If you’re interested, I’d love to hear your ideas on the subject. I’ll start out with a couple of mine.
- A good conversationalist makes other people feel comfortable. There are, of course, many aspects to achieving this, some simple like smiling, not getting distracted (cell phones could b the biggest impediment to good conversation), addressing someone by name, signaling that you are important. Other aspects are more complex, like avoiding what I call Serial Monologuing, responding to any input with a story about yourself, hijacking the conversation always in the direction of “me – me – me.”
- A second, prime attribute of a good conversationalist, is curiosity about others, their stories, their interests, their thoughts and feelings. I’m often struck by people who show NO interest in others. It’s about me, or it’s not. B.O.R.I.N.G. But common. The most obvious way to demonstrate curiosity is by asking questions. But there are good questions, and then not so good questions. What do you ask about? How do you ask? What tone of voice, what kinds of language, what facial expressions encourage others to respond?
Exploring the topic of Conversation
One of my favorite topics of conversation is “conversation”. I invite you to try it. Here are a few conversation starters on the subject of conversation:
- What characterizes a good conversation?
- What gets in the way of good conversation?
- Can you describe a really good conversation that you had recently? What made it so good?
- Who do you know that you would describe as a very good converstionalist? Why?
- During Covid, have you missed conversations? How might you go about renewing your conversation life? What might you do to ensure that you have fulfilling, satisfying conversations?
If you’d like help with conversation starters, check out this link
You’ll find conversation starters of all kinds. Or zip on over here, to learn more about Mindful Conversation