Has hoping for an authentic question that leads to an authentic conversation that leads to understanding that leads to caring and connection become “old school“?
Ever wonder if it’s you or them? Or both?
For instance, you’re at a social gathering with friends, colleagues, maybe even family. Desiring conversation, you attempt to engage the others with thoughtful and authentic questions. Nothing controversial. Your questions about the others’ experience bring lots of comments. And then the monologues begin—about their lives, trials, accomplishments, dreams, or disappointments. Perhaps someone whips out a phone and starts flipping through photos of this, that, and them.
…Not one question asked about your life, trials, accomplishments, dreams, or disappointments.
You might think your expectations are too high. Or that you’re boring. Or maybe hoping for an authentic question that leads to an authentic conversation that leads to understanding that leads to caring and connection is old school.
Reminds me of a post I wrote more than four years ago about communication—or the lack thereof. Last week I watched (again) Celeste Headlee’s TED Talk on how to be a better conversationalist. Celeste asks early on in her thought-provoking presentation, if we are “engaged and inspired” or depleted by what is supposed to be a conversation. These ten pointers are important reminders for us. Maybe you can share them, as well. Please view her less-than twelve-minute talk below in the Video Recommendation for the Week section.
- Be present in the moment
- You know, listen and care about the person/people in front of you.
- Don’t pontificate—assume you have something to learn
- I’m sure you have wonderfully instructive e experiences to share. So do the people in front of you.
- Everyone you ever meet knows something you don’t
- But you won’t know it if you don’t stop and ask questions and listen.
- Use open-ended questions
- And keep them coming. See #1 and #3 above.
- Go with the flow
- Don’t be scripted with banal questions. Think about the people in front of you and ask questions that recognize and respect their stories.
- Don’t equate your experience with theirs…this is not about you
- I’ve written about this before. Probably not the time for comparatory suffering or achievement.
- Try not to repeat yourself
- See #1-#6.
- Stay out of the weeds
- Yes, I want to hear about your story…but two hours later, let me come up for a breath of air.
- Communicate. Have a deliberative dialogue.
- Be brief…be interested in other people
- See the above.
Celeste Headlee’s TED Talk has more than 12 million views.
Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.
You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click here.
My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.
And you can still order:
- Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
- Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.
You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.
You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida