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. ⬇️

Dealing with Self Doubt

We all have that one person in our lives who just cant seem to stop having it all. He can be your brother, who bags all the academic medals and brings all the glory to the family, your college blocmate who perfects all the tests and is friends with almost everyone at school or your best friend who always seems to be in a relationship. This person, whoever he or she is can be someone you really love or adore but you just can’t seem to kick out the feeling of wanting to be where that person is. Call it jealousy, insecurity or whatever you want. All you really know is that whatever it is you feel towards that person, it is making you feel unsure about yourself— self doubt they call it.

Continue reading “Dealing with Self Doubt”

Sleepless, yet full of hope

It’s been 3 days of less than 4 hours of sleep, endless written reports, exams and general assemblies. College students weren’t kidding when they said hell weeks could literally kill you. (PS: There really was a person who died from too much work and not enough sleep.) Caffeine, in every form whether it be coffee or energy drinks have gotten through my veins, possibly flowing with my blood or worse replacing it. It’s utterly ridiculous and very much impossible but darling, what if? I’m actually surprised about not having been sent to the hospital yet, then I remembered, “We’re in college now, we can’t afford to get sick. Only death is an acceptable excuse.”
Continue reading “Sleepless, yet full of hope”