Why We Should Start Having More Meaningful Conversations with Others and How
by Melody Ong. |
Have you ever been in a situation where you just want to run away from a boring conversation? It is in fact, tedious, dull and a total waste of time because the conversation holds zero value to you. However here is something to share, conversations are not difficult nor unappealing. It is the way we hold these conversations that makes it boring.
Believe it or not, we are the reason why conversations suck. Without a doubt, we can all agree that most of us do not communicate well. Be it with your family, friends or business associates, we tend to have this tiny sinking feeling when we’re expected to hold a conversation— because we suck at conversations!
Why do we suck at conversations?
We use social networking services like Facebook and Whatsapp to communicate daily and this is where conversations become simplified and valueless. Got something to say? A simple text could do the trick.
We tend to avoid deep, long conversations whenever possible. When we avoid something for a long time, we become bad at it and this is exactly why we suck at conversations now. Don’t you think it is time for us to create value in the words we speak and seek more meaningful conversations with others?
Understanding why you should start having meaningful conversations with others:
1. It fosters genuine relationships
No relationship can be built upon simple greetings. Sure, it’s a good way to start but to truly know someone on a more personal level, having a deeper conversation is part of the process to nurture a relationship because it shows that you’re willing to connect with them. The first step to building a genuine friendship or any relationship is by having the right conversations.
2. It creates purpose
Idle chats are a pain. Even in professional settings, we tend to avoid making small talk as they hold almost zero value. In this busy lifestyle, idle chats are a waste of time for many of us. However, when we talk about more substantial topics, a purpose is created while we are conversing. It can be as simple as getting to know someone better or to find out about the latest world issues; purposeful talking is never a waste of time.
3. It makes an impression
Go out and talk to a few people, try to hold a conversation with them for a minute and you’ll find yourself making an impression on that person. A meaningful conversation could portray us to be more intelligent, observant and empathetic which is a good blend in any situation. In a workplace, you could be a good employee but making an impression with simple, yet meaningful conversations could set your employer’s eyes on putting you up for your next big promotion!
4. You learn a lot more than just being book-smart
Life experiences come from learning from others. Take an example: A good conversation with a successful businessman can teach you so much more than just soaking up yourself with books in the library. You learn about his routines, ways to succeed, and trade secrets; all with just a meaningful conversation. In any case, meaningful conversations hold a lot of knowledge that you might need to open new doors in your life.
Now that you’ve understood the importance of meaningful conversations, here are some tips on how to start and maintain a good conversation.
1. Ask good questions
Instead of starting with “How are you?”, try something like “How did your day go?”. When we encourage others with the right questions, it could spark an interest in the other person. It shows you’re interested in their day and they’ll happily tell you much more than what they would initially say. Remember, little changes like these prompt others to tell you more than just a one-two word reply and could escalate into a better conversation.
2. Go the extra mile
Be proactive in asking or replying. If you know the other person is having Chinese food for dinner, don’t just ask them, “How’s your dinner?” but try to include a little opinion of your own. Rephrase the question to something like “How was the Chinese food you had for dinner? I heard the dumplings were pretty good.” The extra mile that you go will build a good momentum to hold a conversation.
3. Show that you are engaged
A key to having a mindful conversation is to listen. Listen to what the other person is saying and have your own input. It is fine to not agree all the time, a little difference in opinion is a good way to delve deeper into a conversation. Always listen and pay attention to the details, surprise them by repeating or voice out an interest in the conversation. For example, when someone shares their dislike towards a certain movie, listen to their reasons before formulating your own, “I do agree with the movie’s bad story, but I enjoyed its perfect casts. What do you think about the performance instead?”. Not only you’re showing interest in what the other person is saying, but you’re formulating your own input and asking in return.
4. Be humble and vulnerable
Arrogance is a conversation killer. Don’t speak too highly of yourself, this is not a show-off contest. When you send signals to the other person that you’re being humble, they will feel that it is alright to be more authentic and intimate around you. If a friend is having a hard time coping with a breakup and you know your own romantic affairs are doing extremely well, do not brag about it. Instead, try to empathize with them. Most people would cut a conversation short just because they do not feel comfortable speaking to someone arrogant.
5. Share a story
Did you just come back from a vacation in Italy? Share them! Good memories and adventures are meant to be shared. If you have a story, don’t hesitate or keep them to yourself. Stories are a wonderful way to open yourself up to others while listening to what they can share in return. Do not be shy to share a story, even if it may embarrass you. You can talk about how you totally screwed up making a simple dish like mac & cheese and in return, the other person may have some very cool tips on making the perfect mac & cheese!
It can never be too late to start having meaningful conversations with others. Good interpersonal skills will bring you much further in life while allowing you to enjoy more of what others have to offer. Build good relationships, make an impression, learn from others and create purpose with your newly found conversational skills. Go out there, talk to people and remember these tips — you’ll find yourself enjoying conversations much more with others when you know how to go beyond the superficial small talks.
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