Great Conversations

Written by Dr. John Townsend

April 9, 2018

Great conversations can be a really important part of your life. What is a good conversation? It’s a dialogue between two people. It’s not a monologue.

Secondly, and one of the outcomes, is information.

Thirdly, the potential for self-improvement. There are a lot of conversations I’ve been in where I’m a better person because of having been around that person.

Many times, improvement, growth, and change can be a big part of it, but it’s not always necessary.

Why is This Important in the First Place?

First off, a transfer of nutrients. The way people grow and thrive in life and succeed is because we give each other nutrients to grow. The nutrients of encouragement and attunement and then the nutrients of wisdom and feedback and all these sorts of things.

A second reason it’s important is that those great conversations are self-reinforcing. A good conversation will reinforce many more.

Third of all, I think great conversations are milestones for great decisions.

So What Do You Do About It?

Let me give you the skills that really work. One is to take initiative. Don’t wait for someone to draw you out. Be a grown-up, ask them how they’re doing but you be the first mover.

Another very important one is to move toward vulnerability. When somebody opens up and says something about themselves like a struggle or a challenge they’re having, you say, “I had no idea you had a kid that was struggling. I had no idea that you weren’t happy with your job. Tell me more about that.” People in great conversations and great conversationalists are always moving toward the vulnerability of the other person. They’re vulnerable themselves. That’s where the real payoff is.

There’s also kind of a process here. Good conversations move from events to deeper matters.

  • One is feelings.
  • Another one is relationships in general.
  • Another one is no hijacking the football. If you are talking about something of interest, you go mutual. You pass it back and forth.
  • Finally, go for mutuality. Just make that your goal in a good conversation.

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