“It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.” ~ Yogi Berra ~
Conversation is an art and not a battle. The object is not to win, but to create a mutually respectful interplay that is meaningful to all involved. It is a test of your ability to find a balance between listening and speaking, with each as important as the other. There are no “yes buts” or “when I’s” and plenty of questions.
This weekend we will be in Dunsmuir for the Bi-Annual Ferrier Family Reunion. We move it from coast to coast every two years. It is a wonderful chance to refresh our relationship with those from near and far. We get to meet new spouses, children and remember those who have left us. What a great opportunity for fabulous conversation. We have history, things in common, stories to tell and retell. The children who were at earlier reunions are now bringing their children.
The challenge of a family reunion is including and entertaining people from 9 decades with their broad range of physical abilities, interests, tastes and needs in food and drink. We will talk our way through it. The weekend is about US not a bunch of separate MEs.
The key to good conversation is to pay attention and be in the moment, reflecting and encouraging those who are involved. Try to get below the surface and find common topics ripe for discussion. Politics and religion are easy, but controversial unless those involved have common interests or good emotional control. Topics are infinite and opportunities for good conversation are endless.
Your challenge for this week is to find opportunities to ask people about themselves and their interests only talking about yourself enough to keep the discussion going and hopefully you will not have to talk about yourself at all. Think of yourself as the worst topic and their interests as the best. Asking questions is better than making statements.