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LIFE WAS BUMMING ME OUT TODAY.

  • Whenever I'm bumming, I go to the big THREE:  the Bible, To Write Love on Her Arms, and TED Talks.  These are things that can comfort a heart.  Things have been kind of intense out there in the big world, and seriously, Carrie Fisher's mom?  Really?

Anywho, I'm not writing about that.  I watched a TED Talk on how to be good a conversations.  This is something I've ALWAYS wanted to be good at, but I just turn into a HUGE awkward nerd when I talk to other humans.  My good friend Lisa, she could talk to ANYONE, ANYWHERE and they felt like she really cared about them, and understood them.  She was amazing for tons of reasons, but her ability to carry on conversations with anyone at all really impressed me.

So here are the 10 tips for having a good conversation:

  • Do not multi-task.  If you want to be IN the conversation be IN it -- don't be doing other things, or even thinking or planning about other things.

  • Don't lecture.  Conversations are about give and take - if you expect to speak without interaction, you aren't having a conversation.  True listening involves the setting aside of yourself.  

  • Use open-ended questions.  Start with who, what, where, when, why and how.

  • Go with the flow.  Thoughts will come and go.  Don't get sidetracked by something you want to say or ask and stop listening.

  • Admit you don't know stuff.  

  • Don't equate your experience with theirs.  If they are telling you about their dog that just died, don't jump in with the story of your dog dying.  The conversation isn't about you. Conversations are not a promotional opportunity.  

  • Try not to repeat yourself.  It is really boring.  You already said that.

  • Stay out of the weeds.  Details numbers, dates, names aren't important.  

  • Listen.  Be involved in the conversation.  If your mouth is open, you are not learning.  We can listen at 500 words per minute, but people talk at about 225 words per minute -- this is why your mind wanders.  It takes effort and energy to listen to a conversation.

  • Be brief.  "A good conversation is like a miniskirt; short enough to retain interest but long enough to cover the subject." 

It turns out I am pretty bad at almost all ten of these.  My mind is usually going 10,000,000 mph, and I have to force myself to slow down and LISTEN.  I guess the whole thing can really boil down to the idea that other people are important, and we should treat them as such.  We all exist on this big blue blob together, and each person has a unique experience and perspective; in other words, I've got a lot to learn.

--Jen

 

This was my favorite song from this movie, which I still love.  I loved her voice so much and thought she was fabulous.