How important are conversations? In today’s world having conversations has become somewhat of a lost art. In fact conversations are often avoided at all costs. An informal exchange of ideas, interactive, spontaneous and an important part of socialization; the conversation tends to take a back seat to the text or an email.
It is very convenient to text or email, it allows for the delivery of your message without having to worry about how the other person might receive or respond to what you have said and does not require you to think on your feet; you can choose when or if you will respond. The immediate impact of your words and thoughts are lost to you. Generally in return you receive a thought-out measured response. This lets you live in your world with little or no thought to the person you are communicating with; in fact it keeps us all nicely cocooned.
When working in a customer based service, or if your business requires you to have employees, it is important to hone your skill in the art of conversation. Although we tend to rely more heavily on electronic forms of communication for the sake of efficiency, it cannot take the place, or deny the importance of a face-to-face conversation.
Without knowing it, we count heavily on what we see, for our interpretation of what the other person is feeling or understanding. Without these clues we can miss much of what might be important clues to building relationships that sustain our businesses and our communities.
This weekend I listened to a podcast of This American Life, “For Your Reconsideration”. There were some really interesting statistics about door-to-door canvasing; there was one very interesting discovery. They discovered that sustainable change in opinions and attitudes could be attributed to listening and asking questions, instead of “campaigning for a cause”. It was when the other person could come to a conclusion on their own; with words coming out of their own mouth, that their changed opinion and acceptance of a new concept became believable to them.
The possibility of effecting sustainable change, engaged presence, commonality, and connecting in a conversation vs. an email or text, seems more likely, and for me, although sometimes reluctantly, a practice worth continuing.