If we want to get awesome ideas or awesome jobs, we need to be able to talk to people. But somewhere along the way we lost the subtle art of conversation. Which can lead to people–even superheroes–living in their own bubbles.
Thankfully Forbes contributor John Hall has assembled a collection of ways to have more meaningful conversations–let’s talk over half a dozen of the most excellent ways.
You have 150 billion bits of attention in a lifetime. Spending a few on the person you’re talking to instead of fretting about what you’re going to have for dinner is a worthwhile investment.
So let them share, Hall says, then give them your story.
“A lot of times, a person will self-identify a need right after you talk about what you do,” he adds.
When someone restates your position to you, you start to trust them more. So we should be mindful about doing the same: This will validate their viewpoint, as philosopher-provocateur Dan Dennett has shown us, allowing you to disagree with them, if necessary, with an extra dose of graciousness.
“The Goldilocks of eye contact comes in two flavors: If you’re in a one-on-one setting, hold eye contact for 7 to 10 seconds; while if you’re in a group, shorten that to 3 to 5 seconds.
“There’s a thin line between properly preparing yourself for a conversation and being creepy,” Hall notes. That line is different in every situation, we have to assume–but if you’re trying to know as much about the other person as Facebook does, you’re probably going too far.
To paraphrase the Persian poet Rumi, your task is not to seek for conversation, but merely to seek and to find the barriers that you have built against it. Hall translates it into the office:
If you see an opportunity to joke around or personalize a conversation, take it–even if it’s early. It will decrease barriers from the start, and the shift will enable you to have a better conversation.
What have you learned about how to have a real-life conversation? Let us know in the comments.