Are You Sure You Are Having a Conversation?

Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand. We listen with the intent to reply.”

Stephen Covey (American educator, businessman and author)

A moment of magic occurs when you know that someone is truly listening to you. Their body language, their eyes, their focus and above all, sometimes, their silence create engagement. Intense interest, curiosity and caring to hear what you have to say suffuse the moment. No intake of breath, however subtle, presages that their attention has already shifted to what they want to say. A space has been created where your words can resonate, be understood and respected. There does not have to be agreement, but a foundation for mutual discourse has been created. In her powerful and highly entertaining TED talk, Celeste Headlee, award winning radio journalist, author and public speaker details ten points that generate real dialogue. They include:

  1. Don’t multitask
  2. Don’t pontificate
  3. Use open-ended questions
  4. Go with the flow of the conversation. Don’t get caught up in your own thoughts.
  5. If you don’t know, say you don’t know.
  6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. We are all individuals.
  7. Avoid repeating yourself.
  8. Stay out of the weeds, the details.
  9. Listen.
  10. Be brief.

We have so many opportunities to have stimulating, interesting and informative conversations if we will simply:

“Go out, talk to people, listen to people, and most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”

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