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What Makes a Great Conversation?

Why do we revel in a great conversation and what are the elements of just such a conversation that makes it memorable?

This is something I’ve been wondering for some time as I’ve been doing Your Story. What are the dynamics of a great story or conversation? What are the things that we sometimes do well and we sometimes could change to improve conversations? Are these things simply good luck, part of our nature and environment or are they skills we can learn?

It hasn’t been just since I’ve been doing Your Story that I’ve had the complement paid to me. It’s happen on and off all my life.  We’re wrapping up the conversation and the person I’ve been chatting with mentions that they had a wonderful time and really enjoyed it. I can sense that they genuinely mean it, as though as we part it feels like something special was shared.ircbarge

But what?

It was three years ago when I was reflecting on my life and wondering what I should do with my newly discovered  inspiration of doing a podcast that one of the things I considered is the number of times this scenario has occurred in my life and that it’s one of those things that I find profoundly rewarding. Maybe I have a little natural ability or maybe I’m simple curious about others and that helps them feel engaged but it doesn’t always work, sometimes it falls flat so there are things that I know that I can improve.

I’ve been wondering for some time what is it that people get from a great conversation and what is missing from a poor one? What are the elements that make a conversation simply polite and courteous verses one that connects two people in some deeper way?

I have a few ideas, some of the things that I use are…

  • Genuine interest in them and the subject
  • Specific questions that require an explanation rather than a simple answer
  • Summarise the points that are made
  • Happy to be contradicted. I’m interested in their opinion.
  • Remain engaged and listening.
  • Contribute my opinions and thoughts but remain more interested in them.

My underlying approach is I know about my life, beliefs and attitudes, what are yours? Please educate me about something new and change me for the better through your knowledge.

  1. What are the aspects of a great conversation?
  2. Where have you seen it done well and poorly?
  3. What do you do best and where should you improve?
{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Adam Daniel Mezei Thursday, 29 October, 2009, 1:01 am

    I am shocked and dismayed that this post hasn’t received any commentary, as yet. It’s so rife with possibilities…

    Wow…I’m crossposting again…


  • Rocco Monday, 7 December, 2009, 10:34 pm

    Wow, very interesting article.
    And it’s great so see some familiar faces.

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