We need to talk, really talk.

When was the last time you had a good conversation? I mean a really good one.

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Image by Ellagrin

1) Face To Face

Our various and evolving technologies enable us to communicate in an ever expanding number of ways but there is so much to genuine connection which is non-verbal and physically energetic. Each step back from actual physical presence loses more and more meaning and connection from the exchange.

Get physically into a shared space and engage with each other face to face.

2) Focus

Genuine connection isn’t simply a matter of paying attention it requires the undivided concentration of it. An offshoot complication of the instant gratification entertainment model governing pretty much all media platforms is the struggle to develop and maintain the ability to focus our attention.

Peel the eyes off the screens, set aside the devices, and share your undivided attention. It will be infinitely more rewarding for everyone involved.

3) Ask Questions

Few things make us feel more noticed and appreciated than being asked questions about our thoughts and ideas. It demonstrates the person we are interacting with is paying attention, they are hearing what we are saying, and they are interested and invested in us and want to know more. Being asked questions gives us a feeling of acknowledgement, of encouragement, and that our thoughts and opinions have value.

If you encounter an idea which interests you or which you don’t understand ask questions, the more open-ended and free of preconceived conclusions the better.

4) Listen

The comment section of social media platforms is very much the ‘just waiting for our turn to talk’ paradigm gone berserk. The highest possible numbers of views, clicks, shares, likes, and all such nods of attention are eagerly sought but attempts at actual replies and responses most often quickly devolve into argumentative personal attacks, leaving the initial topic far behind in favor of name calling and posturing.

If we aren’t willing to listen to others why should they be willing to listen to us?

5) Share, Don’t Conquer

A genuine conversation, even about a charged and difficult topic, is at its heart an exchange of ideas and perspectives. It’s not a contest. The ideal is certainly a search for understanding and consensus but that isn’t always possible. Sometimes the ideas and concepts will just be too different and disparate to wrap our minds around or match up harmoniously.

Genuine conversations aren’t just about seeking to understand ideas they’re about seeking to understand one another and neither of those things can happen if all we’re interested in is declaring a winner.

6) Don’t Let Fear Hold You Hostage

Genuine conversations can be wonderful, enriching, bonding experiences but sometimes they can also be heavy, difficult, uncomfortable, and scary. The skillsets are the same for both, much easier in the former and more desperately necessary in the latter. The more complex the society the more difficult the conversations can become.

Understanding has to come first and is what we truly need the most.

So, the moral of the story?

Written by

A professional dancer, choreographer, theatre creator, and featured TEDx speaker with an honours degree in psychology, two black belts, and a lap-top.

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