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Reviving the Disappearing Art of Conversation




When was the last time that you had a significant one-to-one conversation with another person?  By significant, I mean the conversation went beyond sharing facts and information to expressing true feelings, convictions, and thoughts.

 

     As a business coach, I require those I serve to develop this skill and practice, especially with those they lead.  If they lead other leaders, I teach them how to inspire those leaders to do the same.  Significant conversation creates bonding and trust.  A team that trusts one another can’t be stopped.  This is no mere touchy feely “Kum Bah Yah” campfire experience.  Such open, honest, caring conversations are the glue that holds a team together in the fiercest of battles.

 

     Here’s the challenge.  E-mail, texting, webinars, social media.  Though these tools can be a great way to transmit administrative instructions and information, they cannot replace a deep conversation.  In fact, they are a deadly placebo that leaves the feeling you have connected with another person, when in reality you have not.

 

     Think about it.  Just because you follow your nephew on Facebook does not mean that you have a relationship with him.  You feel like you do, but in reality, there has been no significant interaction.  There is no substitute for a deep listening and speaking from the heart.  Texting and e-mail strip communication of all body language, facial expression and voice inflection.  One study states that the words we use are only 7% of the communication.  Add to that the fact that most people are not great at the use of language.  The result is that texting and e-mail lack a depth of connection, and often miscommunicate even basic information if not used with care.

 

     So what to do about it?  Text someone that you would like to really get to know better, and schedule a two-hour uninterrupted conversation.  Prepare for the event.  Go with big ears and a big heart, and listen.  It will be a gift.  Isolate yourselves from the outside world, and focus exclusively on that person.  Be fully present.

 

     For those you lead, it will provide an opportunity to build a team that will endure and perform together through thick and thin.  It’s a bit scary.  It’s a bit risky.  But let me tell you, it’s worth it.  

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