The Art of Conversation

Conversation and connecting do not come easily in these times, we have lost the passion to know each other, and to allow others to express themselves fully when we do sit to converse. Quick tidbits of information are sent out via FB, twitter, and texting, giving a false impression that we are communicating. Then when given the opportunity to sit down and actually have a conversation with someone, we are at a loss of how to connect beyond <FBstatus> “Dear Sunshine, I love you please come back tomorrow.”

I must say I am a big offender of poor communication skills in certain areas, but I am confident that I can become proficient in the ‘art’ of communication again. To become an artful communicator/connector it takes practice and a few key action steps to keep in mind. The first of which is to be mindful, practicing mindfulness entails one thing and one thing only, to be present in what ever you are doing. When talking with someone about their day, would it be better to A. do the dishes or look through the mail as you ask your spouse or kids to tell you how their day was. Or B. Sit in the living room and look directly at the person as they tell you about their day. Obviously the answer is B. looking directly at a person while they reveal their heart to you through very personal and real experiences they had during the day goes a long way in connecting with another.

Second, ask probing questions. How many times have we sat and listened to someone’s story only to move on to our own story as soon as they put the period on theirs? I have a friend who has this skill down solid. When she talks with others, her main objective is to know more. She will say, wow, how does that make you feel? or What do you think you can do about that? Probing questions could be as simple as, you said you want to update your kitchen, have you thought of a color scheme? Never leave a conversation for another one until you ask for more information.

Third, do not withhold accolades or empathy for another. When someone tells you about their day, accomplishments or challenges, it is up to us to uphold them through genuine appreciation for good things as well as empathy for the challenges that cross their path. A sure fire way to help someone feel like they are not alone is to give them the support they deserve in any given situation. Proverbs 3:27 says, Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Now lets not get bogged down by the part that says “to whom it is due” EVERYONE deserves to have good given to them, it is not up to us to judge when and who gets it. So, give it freely and liberally!

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photo taken by http://twinklephoto.com

I love this photo it is the perfect image when remembering to engage in artful conversation! The baby is holding the eyes of her mom as they relate face to face; both are in the moment together. Both Mother and daughter are not withholding their feelings as they connect. Connect with someone today with these tips and start building your ability to have artful conversation.

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