The Art of Conversation #2 - Sorry what did you say?

Here's a question for you....Is there any 21st Century skill more important than being able to sustain a coherent, confident, conversation?

The Art of Conversation is becoming a trait rarer than it ever was, and we at Purple Pebble People for one want to interrupt that trend and are super curious about the whole subject of the Art of Conversation.

Consider this, how well do you focus on the other person and what they are saying during the conversations you have? Are you focused on the listening over the talking? As Steven Covey suggests in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Seek first to Understand, Then To Be Understood. By this he means that if you're like most people, you probably seek first to be understood; you want to get your point across, build credibility, show a perceived empathy, or something similiar. By doing so, you may ignore the other person completely, pretend that you're listening, selectively hear only certain parts of the conversation.

As human beings we are programmed in such a way that our innate instincts trigger the talk response over the listen response. IT TAKES PRACTICE TO LISTEN.  Have you ever been in a conversation either at work, whilst networking, or at home where you have really felt listened to? How did that make you feel?

Respected? Peaceful? Understood? Supported? Something else...

In modern society we are more likely to text than talk, snap-chat than talk, Facebook than talk. We noticed a drought during networking of really deep and curious conversations taking place. You can read about this in Ali’s Art of Conversation#1 article.

This got the team at Purple Pebble People thinking, talking (and listening) about how do we build the subject of the Art of Conversation in our interactions with clients, colleagues, friends, family and strangers. It stimulated such a passionate debate that we were inspired to start conversations about conversations, and one place we have done that is here on LinkedIn.

In the TEDx talk, Celeste Headlee delivers a funny and insightful 12 minutes on the subject of conversation. Its worth a watch with a cuppa and a note pad. She shares with us 10 ways to have better conversations. I'd invite you to watch....and listen!


She mentions that in schools "Conversational Competence" might be the single most over looked skill we fail to teach our children. (These, by the way, will be our leaders of the future).

...and she asks us the question which I used to start this conversation, this article...Is there any 21st Century skill more important than being able to sustain a coherent, confident, conversation? 

We'd love to hear your thoughts....

Ali Carruthers (Co-director, Purple Pebble People)
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