samedi 19 septembre 2009

Good conversations

We know them when we have them, but how do we get them, exactly?
I always think about good conversation as a matter of rythm. Ping-Ping. Pingping-Ping. Like a tennis match. I can hear the ball cross the net and BAAM! Back at you. Yet it's more complex than that. I remember an amazing conversation with someone in Germany: we were constantly interrupting each other (with that greatest of gestures, the conciliatory hand patting the knee as you break someone's flow just to say sorry, nothing against you doll but I need to say this) yet it felt unrushed, perfect, exhilarating. Another interruption-ridden conversation I recall was just bad-we weren't listening to each other. It was forced. We both knew how bad the conversation was, I seem to remember that one of us just halted and said ruefully :"This is a terrible conversation." And so we stopped it.

As a bad-listener-trying-to-improve, I love hearing good conversations. I try to understand what makes them interesting, try to implement my findings in my own life. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Because conversation is a lot of good manners, a lot of passion and hopefully chemistry. We all know great people to talk to, as opposed to great people to talk at.

Ping. Ping. Pingpingpingping. You start the conversation and it works. You're communicating, arguing, laughing or staying serious, but the rythm is there, the sparkle is there. I'm ready for all these good conversations please.

2 commentaires:

  1. I've always been the kind of person that waited for their turn to talk. I never asked questions; I just spoke in statements.

    You know what made me a better listener? My job. I've even had friends tell me that I've become so much more fun to talk to lately and that they feel like I really listen and ask questions now.

    It's nice.

  2. I'm sure that's true. In France we call such side-effects "professional deformation"! I'm working on being a better question asker, too.