Leadership education through conversations

My most pleasurable moments  are when I have conversations with friends I just met. I enjoy asking questions, nodding to their answers, smiling to their jokes, sharing their successes, and empathizing with their challenges to discover and connect with the human being I have in front of me.

This is very rewarding. Having conversations is my continuing education, my lifelong learning experience. I learn from anyone, anywhere. And I also teach to anyone, anywhere. It’s a never ending process.

I also learn to grow myself and develop others from handling confrontations trough crucial conversations. Although, I have a tendency to avoid difficult conversations, I find them  very gratifying when they are well prepared emotionally.

I think private speaking is a lot more difficult and challenging than public speaking.

I will concentrate on serious conversations for this post. Let me share with you some general rules applied to serious, playful, and social conversations I pick from Mortimer J. Adler’s book “How to speak, how to listen”.

I understand from Adler’s teaching that conversations should be pleasure and profitable if we apply the following rules:

1- Pick the right place and occasion for a conversation. “There are times for small talks and times, so to speak, for big talk”, he said.

2.- Know in advance what kind of conversation you are trying to have.

3.- Select the right people with whom to have it.  He advised: “Never engage in the discussion of a problem with someone you know in advance has a closed mind on that subject”.

4.- A conversation is not an interrogation. Don’t ask one question after another without any connection between the questions asked in sequence.

5.- Don’t be rude by engaging in a side conversation while someone to whom you should be listening is talking.

6.- Don’t be too polite. If you think you have something to say, say it.

I also learn that a conversation should be organized with a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning should set the stage for the conversation by focussing on the subject to be discussed. The middle should be devoted to the development of the theme being discussed. The end is the conclusion.

Roosevelt Jean-Francois


Published by Roosevelt

Roosevelt JF is a Global Leadership Fulbright Research Scholar from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) where he taught Haitian Studies as an Adjunct Instructor (2005-2010). Roosevelt was also a senior admissions adviser at Kaplan University. Roosevelt JF is the President of The JF TEAM, INC; a full media marketing and business development consulting firm based in Fort-Lauderdale, FL. He is a sought out radio and TV business show host. He is also a guest for several mainstream medias including NPR, the Miami Herald and Newsweek. He also leads the Center for Communication of AIDS, a network of journalists committed against AIDS in Haiti and South Florida. He speaks fluently Creole, English, French and Spanish. He is the author Of "Leadership sur le vif: Des idées pour le changement et la création de richesse en Haïti".

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