How-to : Have Better Conversations

Looking for inspiration and enlightenment, I turned to the internet for help. I was feeling lost about the coming exam week and I wasn’t sure I was ready to start studying for it. I came upon this Video by TED talks and I was surprised by how much it affected me. My life, (In my opinion) has never been the same. It’s by Celeste Headlee. I don’t really know who she is and what she’s done but gee, she has really turned my “social life upside down and that was only  12 mins of watching her talk.

Her topic was all about communication and interacting with people. You may think that this topic has already been worn-out and had been talked about for a million times already — and to be honest, it has been. Almost all the advice that people can think of about conversations had already been given, recycled and repackaged. So what’s so special about this one? What did she say to have so much effect?

I have read articles about “Making people love you” “Trust you more” and “Have better interactions” and they always usually start with cliche sentences like — “Be interested in what he/she is interested in”, “Give effort to study about what the person likes and like it as well”. At first it really did work out. People are more interested in conversing and hanging out with me and the usual awkward exchange of hi’s and hello’s would transform to 4 hours of phone calls and comments on photos. It works, it really does. 

But what if it doesn’t? And what if the person you’re interested in, have interests that can not or will not give you the spark and the energy to talk about with him/her? What if you you dont have the luxury to involve yourself with their interest? Doesn’t it feel insincere whenever you pretend to like something because you like person you’re talking to? The speaker’s answer? 

DON’T. Don’t converse.

Caffe bene Light bulbs. Photo by me.

Here’s 6 of the tips I liked about Celeste’s talk and my very own take on them.

1. Stop the BS. If you don’t want to talk, dont. Never Multi-task.

This, for me, was a gold mine. It’s so simple yet it made so much sense. How do you make better conversations? If you don’t want to talk, you’re not interested about the topic or just don’t like the person, Don’t. People, your friends or family deserves your whole attention. Deserves someone who’s interested in talking and to respond, if you’re not that person, then don’t talk. It’s either you wont really understand what you’re talking about, you won’t pay attention or it wouldn’t really matter. I agree with this so much. No one deserves half-hearted conversations. Why should anyone pretend they’re interested. Right?

Caffe bene @ Eastwood Libis. Photo by me

2. It’s two-way. Participate.

Congratulations if you had decided to converse then here are two things you have to remember — Respond and Be honest/Frank.

It’s actually really easy. It’s called “talking” because you guys are exchanging ideas, feelings and comments. The conversation will be so much better if both of you are honest with each other and if you guys are really participating in it. Ask questions. Say how you really truly feel. Be part of it. If you can’t then stop. 

3.  Listen

This is actually requirement if you want to converse. Listen because you won’t understand if you don’t. Listen because you will learn. Listen because there are so many people who makes mistakes when they don’t. Listen because you are interested. It all revolves around this.

4.  Do not pretend like you know.

There are two things in this item that I wanna share.
A. When talking about feelings/confessions/memories
Don’t ever pretend like you know how it feels when you don’t. A lot of advice for topics like these would say — “Agree” make the person feel like you know what it feels, you understand what it felt like.” Most of the time, doing this would make you look insincere. If you don’t know how it feels, don’t act like you do. Yes, you’re looking for common ground and similarities but remember — we’re talking about honesty and sincerity here. Feelings are different for everyone. Explore those differences. That would make a good conversation topic. 
B. When talking about facts/events/information.
It’s going to look really funny when someone says things that are inaccurate or false just to prove his/her wits or “excellence”. If you don’t know what happened at the end of the Harry Potter series, don’t proclaim that you do. If you haven’t read the case analysis of a certain incident, don’t pretend that you do. How humiliating it must be to be proven wrong when you confidently state something false and get found out. I know how this feels and I have been through this a lot of times. How I wish I could have just said “I didn’t know.” than debate and be proven wrong. Making mistakes is a learning process but admitting you didn’t know when you don’t is also something we should practice.

5. Be open to learn



Have you heard of the saying — “Everyone is fighting a battle, be kind always.”?

When conversing, be open to learn. Be open to ideas and emotions of other people. You may agree or disagree, you may not like what he/she is saying but isn’t that one of the things that make conversations better? Diversity is what develops our critical thinking. When you’re open to learn, new perspectives may arise for you. You get to see things better (or worst), you can see things and understand things from the view point of someone else. It’s like being there yourself. When you’re open to learn, you grow. And honestly, someone who’s open to know more about what you’ve been to is so much easier to talk with. 

6. Get ready to share who you are.

At the same time, being open to someone else’s ideas and feelings means that you must also be open to share who you are to that person. Remember that a conversation is an exchange. It’s an avenue for you and the person you’re talking to, to get to know more about each other and learn things. Be a person who not only listens but also shares and participate. Be someone who people talk to because you’re someone they learn from, you’re a person they get advice from. When you do this, you have already achieved a “better conversation”.

Caffe Bene @ Eastwood, Libis. Photo by me
 
You can watch more TED talks videos by visiting their website at Ted Website

And you can also follow their facebook at www.facebook.com/TED and twitter @ www.twitter.com/tednews


Are you having problems with your self-esteem? Need a little boost? Here’s a post I made just for us who know how ot feels to doubt ourselves. Read it with me here – Dealing with Self-Doubt ❤️

Watch the video above and also share with me what you think. How did you like this post? Did you learn anything? Is there something you also want to share? Hit me up at the comments section below. ⬇️

26 Replies to “How-to : Have Better Conversations”

  1. I like how you come up with this idea. I salute you for reading a lot of self improvement articles which is I guess is one way to balance things and know where you wanted to place and see yourself. Your tips has given me reason to improve on my communication side of the world. I also agree that listening is one way of improving how we converse and how we react. We also learn a lot when we listen, but we should as well put them into action.

    LaiAriel

    1. It’s better to be honest, yes it’s just injustice if I may say if you pretend you know something or justify simply pretend in any way just to keep that person think, you’re interested, at the end of the day, it’s you alone fooling yourself. Just be who you are. We will never please everybody but there’s always someone who will.

  2. So many people have written or even made videos on the art of conversing. Here’s the thing. Everyone talks, few connect. Conversing is two-way. It takes two to tango. When one wants to speak and the other one doesn’t want to listen, it’s not conversing. Even if you have two people talking to each other, it may or may not be conversing. Beyond what you have listed, I would like to add. Understand where the other person is coming from. 🙂

  3. Wow this is really timely! We know we live in a digitalized virtual generation so this speaks alot for us. We often multi task thinking we are able to serve two masters but conversations are already compromised. Awesome read! Makes me want to do better in my upcoming works as well!

  4. Be honest is really one of the essentials of conversation and being sincere on your words and action. We may not be the good adviser but atleast we’re there for the person for me that thought matters most, but just make sure that you listened intently, because at the end of the day if you’re just pretending your just fooling yourself. Thankyou for the links provided

  5. I hope that many people will read this post. It’s so important to always want to improve yourself. The one of your steps I like the most was actually nr 1, don’t talk if you don’t want to. There’s no reason to fake and have forced conversations. Thanks for the tip of Celeste Headlee- I’ll definitely check out that TED talk.

  6. I did a course on conversing and influencing. I learned so much from it. And loved to read your post as well. That’s the best thing : you can always get better at it. I think ‘listen’ is a great tip. In my course they said: make sure to actually listen. Do not think about what you want to say or how to react. That is distracting. Only listen.

  7. I love how you enumerated your learnings. It’s easier for me to digest when you broke it down. Anyway, this is something I haven’t really thought about before since I’m used to talking to people. This gave me something to think about if the conversations I make are meaningful and how I can improve it better. I’m an extrovert and I do empathize with people, but yes I do ignore people when I can’t relate to them. We should always be our genuine and sincere self.

  8. For me, number 3 is the hardest thing to do. Nowadays, I may have noticed that some rarely just listen to whatever you blab about. They’ll just nod subconsciously just to shut you up. How I wish that we went back in time and just treated mobile phones as mere things of communication and not a major part of our lives and treat it like a demigod.

  9. Great tips on how to become better at communicating. This is valuable for every one in their life. I hate it when people multitask while pretend to talk. This is simply wrong. Listening is also hard for people, as they seem to be quiet just to talk even more after that.
    Sabine – http://www.sofarsosabine.com

  10. I was stumped for a moment… the title said how to have better conversations and the first thing was if you don’t want to talk don’t… LOL
    Sometimes I just cannot think of things to talk and there is that someone droning on and on and on… and I do really get stumped and just answer them non commitally with the ah, yes, no… hahaha… There are people who just love talking you know… and I am not so much of a talker myself… hahahah

  11. Great tips! I’m starting to love your blog. I love your thoughts about things. I really hate it when I talk to someone and engage myself a lot but they always multi task. They do the exact opposite of your tips. 🙁 that’s the reason why i make sure I listen to people not to reply but to just listen. I love this post. I love your blog already. Keep writing please!

  12. as a millenial, i think that it’s already given that we often multitask esp. when catching up in cafes and restaurants. What I and my friends do is we have a ‘social media’ break once in a while to refresh our convo and suffice our itch to connect to the online world.

    xx kerr

  13. I wrote a similar post a few years back. In most conversations that I encounter, people tend to over-participate & over-share. When I say that they over-participate, they just talk ( scratch that ) … they blab about themselves, it’s always about them. I usually go out of my way to listen, but I’ve come across people who won’t even bother to ask me how am I or whatever. There’s nothing wrong with sharing, but like what you said, conversations should be two-way. It’s but proper to also listen to the listener.

  14. I also heard that TED talk, and Celeste made good points! I also heard a talk that goes something like how to make people listen. One of the points is to be authentic and to want good things for the other person. I think there’s wisdom to that when it comes to conversations. Everyone’s dying for a piece of truth, and not just small talk.

  15. Conversation is an exchange of thoughts or ideas between two or more individuals. It would really be hard to have a conversation if, in the first place, you’re not sincerely interested in getting to know the other person. Listening is one of the important skills too to have a better conversation. It’s pointless to talk to the other person if one of you is not even listening.

  16. I really agree with the points she tackled here. For me, a person who knows how to converse with other people must somehow have high regards about having quality conversations. I also learned about its importance years ago before I stepped in college. People who speak with depth and purpose are definitely the ones that others would like.

  17. It’s really interesting to read your point of view. So many people have written about this, since we’re constantly on social media and our phones, we don’t tend to have real meaningful conversations. It’s a 2 way process, and we need to be ready to listen and exchange thoughts and share who we really are. It’s so hard in our millennial generation to be able to share who we really are with another person, and be able to listen and give advice. Of course, we have to be interested in their conversation, and it’s quite important to have a vision about this!

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