In life it seems relationships between people are more important to our happiness than accomplishments. How are good relationships begun and maintained? Communication is the key and the ability to hold a meaningful conversation with another person is a vital part of this.
So what is a meaningful conversation and how do we have one? I read somewhere recently that it’s not really what you say as much as what you feel (and how you make someone else feel) in your conversation with them that creates the meaning. While this may be true, it is often also important that what is said is conveyed accurately from one person to another.
To clarify my own thinking on the subject of meaningful and effective conversations, I played around with letters that spell out conversation, communication and converse. Below is the acronym I came up with using the letters of “converse”.
C oncentrate on the other person and listen more often than you speak
O nly talk about one topic at a time, speaking with honesty and openness
N od your head or look at the other person’s eyes from time to time to show you are listening
V erify what the other person actually means by asking questions and also ask questions to make sure they understand what you have said.
E mpathise with the other person by saying how you think they must be feeling and ask them to explain if you are wrong.
R espond with respect and refrain from gossip. Be real. Stick to facts rather than opinions which cannot be substantiated.
S tay positive, affirm the other person and smile.
E nd the conversation politely and with good grace when the purpose of the conversation has been achieved. Don’t inconvenience the other person by keeping them talking for too long.
What ideas do you have on what makes for a meaningful conversation?