Recently I watched a TED talk, and its core messages are so eye-opening and entertaining as well. As per the pew research study, which was carried out on 10,000 American adults, at this moment, we are more polarized, and we are more divided than we ever have been in history.
A conversation requires a balance between talking and listening. Along the way, we lost that balance; as per the speaker, part of that is due to technology, especially smartphones.
The speaker presented his brilliant ideas on how to talk and how to listen by emphasizing one important point, there is no reason to learn how to show you’re paying attention if you are in fact paying attention. So I have summarized the ideas of learning how to make conversation properly without getting bored and without offending anybody.
The 10 points are as follows:
- Don’t multitask – not just put down the phone. Be present at that moment.
- Don’t pontificate – true listening requires a setting aside of ones’ self, as well as personal opinions. Assume you have something to learn from everybody.
- Use open-ended questions – Let them tell you instead of you telling them. For instance, asking someone if they were scared or angry, ask instead what was that like or how did they feel?
- Go with the flow – if a new thought comes into your mind, let it go.
- If you don’t know, say that you don’t know – be accountable for your words.
- Don’t equate your experience with theirs – do not make the conversation about you. All experiences are individual. Conversations are not a promotional opportunity.
- Try not to repeat yourself – it is condescending and really boring.
- Stay out of the weeds – people care about you and what you are like (not the numbers, dates, and details)
- Listen – Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand; we listen with the intent to reply. Buddha said, If your mouth is open, you’re not learning.
- Be brief – “a good conversation is like a miniskirt; short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover the subject.”
Speaker mentioned a solid reason why we get distracted. The average person talks at about 225 words per minute, but we can listen up to 500 words per minute. So our minds are filling in those other 275 words. It takes effort and energy to pay attention to someone, But if we can’t do that, we are not in a conversation.
After watching this TED talk, I also want to ask my readers, like the high school teacher named Paul Barnwell, “is there any 21st-century skill more important than being able to sustain a coherent, confident conversation?”