Isn’t it wonderful when you talk to someone and the conversation just flows and flows.
It’s not that you have to agree on everything but it’s important to be agreeable.
Rather than be a clumsy disagreeable person.
It’s a dreadful experience when the opposite happens.
The other person breaks the cardinal rule of conversation by becoming belligerent, even hostile and feels important because they are “winning” or “scoring” points against you.
All this is competitive behaviour.
Often when the other party doesn’t have a high self-concept or is suffering from a lack of self esteem.
It leads to dullsville or simply loserville.
It’s hard not to forget that conversation is a form of communication. But it’s more often spontaneous and informal.
We get involved in conversations and casual debates for pleasant engagement, meet new people and enjoy social interaction.
As Zorka Hereford, a life skills expert, notes, these conversations may vary from intellectual conversation, information exchanges to friendly debate or witty banter.
So when other parties start “point scoring” and trying to “win” the conversation or conversational debate, things go awry and the other party either gets angry or is axious to withdraw.
If you dominate or hog a conversation, you’re really making it all about yourself.
It becomes a boring, monotonous monologue and not a vibrant, give-and-take, spontaneous conversation.
The person who is always “right” just becomes a terrible bore.
Nobel-prize winner James D. Watson (The Double Helix, etc,) wrote a biography titled “Avoid Boring People”.
It’s an ambiguous title but it’s true that you shouldn’t bore other people and neither should you associate with people who are boring.
Private Eye, the satyrical magazine, used to run a column called “Great Bores of Today”.
It provoked belly laughter when it poked fun at puffed up people.
But let me not drone on.
The point I’m trying to make is that conversation must be interesting.
Do some reading on your subject.
Speak to other people.
Get up to date.
Don’t cling onto outdated mental models.
Open your mind to different sides of a subject.
New or different angles.
But most of all listen.
Listen to the other person.
Let the other person speak.
Good conversation can lead to great ideas.
Don’t stifle it.
Let it flourish.
In these changing times, we need to open up conversation.
Not shut it down.
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