Oh the art of the conversation.
Many people (your parents, my parents, pretty much the older generations) think this art is dying and it very well could be. Today we find ourselves in a landscape where conversing is comprised of 140 characters or less, short and to the point emails and talking about superficial shit that has no relevance. How many times have you been to a restaurant only to see the party of four next to you, probably in their late teens to early twenties, sitting side by side, heads down, scrolling away on their smart devices. The sight of such an event might aid in sending the fois gras crostini you just washed down with a sip of Beaujolais Village back up from whence it came.
The art of conversation is what human beings are built upon. We are social creatures. We were able to leave the caves by relying on one another. Stories were passed down, generation to generation through the verbal language in hopes that the future of the tribe would prosper.
Today's arena, whether it be in courtship, work or plain simple play; proper communication is needed to set yourself apart, be remembered and also to grow and take on new opportunities. Below are a set of rules that will help you with said growth and leaving a mark on any conversation you find yourself in:
Be Interested In Others:
"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you" -Dale Carnegie
It's a fact, people love talking about themselves. They will go on and on if asked the right questions about their interested and their life story. You should know much of your own life. Share it if asked but focus on asking people how they view the world. This also aids in teaching you something new.
Be The Catalyst In The Conversation:
"If you want momentum, you'll have to create it yourself, right now, by getting up and getting started." -Ryan Holiday
This is especially important if you are talking to younger individuals. Be the driving force behind the conversation. This doesn't mean to dominate discussion. facilitate the the flow. Keep offering questions and insights when relevant. Keep the conversation engaging. Be enthusiastic. Be weird. Offer information about yourself to help people open up. Take 100% of the responsibility and making this exchange fun and insightful.
"A person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have." -Tim Ferriss
I'm sick and tired of talking about the "ball" game and you should be too. It's a waste of fucking time. Get to know the person you are talking about. What are their fears? When have they failed? I have had people tell me all kinds of vulnerable things from molestation experiences to hitting rock bottom and you know what? We're okay after the conversation. Hell, it brings us closer together in sharing something so personal. You both (or the group) grow as a result of this sacred information. Asking someone for a committal can seem scary at times. Rejection hurts. Set yourself up for being rejected. Again, nothing but growth potential.
Shut Up and Listen:
"The only true way to listen is with your ears and your heart." -Malcolm Gladwell
Pretty self explanatory here. Too often do we need to shut the hell up and listen. Don't confuse this with waiting for your turn to talk. Let the other individual(s) share.
Never Burn Bridges:
"If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive." -Dale Carnegie
This one may be hard. Especially if you have a big ego. No one likes being wronged. It sucks. In today's world, people have their ego inflated constantly and feeling shamed or embarrassed by someone is a tough pill to swallow. With the various ways of content generation in promoting your brand, whether that be a blog, social media etc, you don't necessarily know who these people know. Creating a enemies can only further hurt your future networks.
Above All, Practice!
"Practice sin't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good." -Malcolm Gladwell
If you've been consumed by superficial conversation and 140 character exchanges for sometime, following these rules might be tough. Screw it. Practice. Talking about vulnerable topics might be scary at first. People will say things you don't know how to respond to. That's okay. Tell them this is the first time you've heard something like this and you're coming from a place of love. In being the driving force behind a conversation you might find some resistance from other members in the room. Who cares? They might have some insecurities they're dealing with. Again, nothing but peace, love and genuine curiosity.
At the end of the day, a conversation is an exchange in data between two organic robots. The human brain is like a hard drive and conversation is just an combination of 1's and 0's.
How rich do you want that content to be?
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