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.