by: Kenneth Cossin
I had a very engaging conversation with a coworker today regarding blogging. The conversation came about by me mentioning some course changes that I want to implement in my class.
While we were talking, I realized several key communication aspects that we were using that we sometimes take for granted:
1. Create a communication bubble
Despite all of the sounds and distractions around us, we focused on the topic at hand. We essentially created a “bubble” around us where we were purposefully ignoring extraneous input. This not only allowed us to have a meaningful conversation, but to also brainstorm some great ideas. We weighed the pros and cons of each idea by maintaining the one single focus.
2. Ask meaningful questions
Our questions and ideas were open-ended in our conversation. Why? Well, because we needed to obtain more information than a simple yes or no answer. We needed to explore the substance of the conversation rather than simply the superficial aspects.
3. Listen without talking
When each of us was talking, interjecting ideas, explaining opinions, etc., we simply listened. By doing so, we found that we were not only answering some rather profound questions but also looking at the different perspectives that exist. In addition, we found that listening to one another helped to generate more questions and ideas.
4. Take notes
I took notes of our discussion to refer to later, because the discussion was too long to remember every topic, idea, thought, or additional question. Thus, at a later date, we could revisit the questions and ideas with “fresh eyes.”
So, why should I listen? Because the best ideas, thoughts, and actions that I have learned in my life have come from the people around me.
Sounds like a great conversation. 😉
You are right. You can learn a lot by shutting your mouth and opening your ears.
These are all excellent observations and each skill should be implemented while engaging in conversation.
I would like to examine people who are engaging in more spirited conversation. Using a topic that people tend to stand their ground on would reveal just how much you are willing to execute these skills while communicating. The recent Town Hall meetings regarding Health Care Reform are prime examples. Although I tend to wholeheartedly agree with those who are doing the shouting, I feel as though they have forgotten these critical rules to effective communication.