The importance of conversations

I’ve had some REALLY good work conversations this week, even from unexpected parts. My diary has been chocca with meetings aimed at finding information out that will help me deliver the two project outputs I have.

Some of those conversations have been quite IT technical but I actually did manage to follow them reasonably well and didn’t feel like I was just there taking notes. I was even able to ask a question that sparked a whole new train of thought that actually the IT folk hadn’t thought about.

I’ve found out a whole bunch of really interesting facts about how we deal with overseas patients and the lengths we have to go to in order to reclaim debt and the power that not being able to recover that debt has over that individual. This lead me down another path to investigate a whole bunch of data. šŸ™Œ Nerd radar satisfied.

The whole purpose of a conversation is to obtain or review or convey information or understanding about facts, processes or contacts and to learn from each other. Having good communication skills is an important aspect of having healthy relationships, be it work, family, friends or other.

Some people profess that there are rules on how to have a better conversation, such as not multitasking so you can concentrate on the conversation, use open ended questions, go with the flow, don’t use it to equate your experience with someone else’s (all experiences are individual). I think that if you are honest, open and curious that should help.

We were watching QI last night and they were discussing that here in the UK it only takes about 4 seconds for a silence during a conversation to become an uncomfortable silence, where you start getting twitchy and end up blurting stuff out because you can’t bear the quiet. I think silences during conversations are really important. They allow time to absorb the information you’ve just heard, to reflect and think about the next point or question. And, probably more importantly, allows quieter members of the group an opportunity to say something they’ve probably been trying to say for ages.

I also think that you shouldn’t talk over people. Its like suggesting that their opinion is wrong or not worthy or they end up having their suggestion overrun by someone else. In a recent conversation (not work) there were 3 people all talking at once, and over video conference that’s really hard, so none of them were heard properly, and because they were all keen to share their example, I tried 3 times to answer the question and was talked over every time, so I just stopped. I didn’t answer the question, I didn’t raise my point, I didn’t bother participating any further. Don’t ask me a question if you’re not going to allow me the opportunity to answer it.

How are your conversations going to improve your day today?


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