Eliminate Small Talk With a Listening Trick
Deep and Meaningful
After isolation, I notice that the quality of my conversations suffers.
I find myself deeply lost in my mind and disconnected from reality.
It’s challenging to have a lively chat with my family or friends.
Partly because I'm a bit out of practice.
Partially because there is an endless loop of dull chatter that separates us further rather than strengthen our connection.
When and how will we go deeper into more profound and powerful conversations?
Talk Less Listen More
The Best Communicators are Listeners
It is incredible how much conversation and wordplay we miss because we are focused on talking rather than listening.
Reading between the lines is arguably the greatest skill that a person can develop in conversation.
While we occupy our minds worrying, "What will I say next" we entirely miss the gems sprinkled into the conversation.
We easily forgo our inquisitive nature in the pursuit of our next word.
There is, however, a subtlety to the English Language that allows us to hide our deeper thoughts in plain sight as passing phrases or seemingly misplaced words.
When we listen intently to pick up these subtleties in other languages, we can use those seemingly disposable words to enhance a conversation and skip the small talk.
The Conversation Game
Imagine if we treated conversation like a game of clues similar to Cluedo, 21 Questions or Guess Who.
Here is the rundown
Changing Conversation From Authoritative to Inquisitive
Gain Knowledge and insight
Everyone has a story to share and some knowledge to impart.
Asking open-ended questions will give people the chance to speak their minds.
Instead of saying how was your day, you could ask what did you get up to today.
Then you can mine their speech for intricate gems to take the conversation deeper.
Conversation is also therapeutic in nature. Letting others express thought can sometimes be the greatest gift you can give.
You can also share the problem you are working on and ask for an opinion.
The more authentic you are, the more people will be drawn to you.
Being vulnerable and opening up to others will make you a more genuine person.
Express Your Value
Another element of conversation that we could improve is our ability to convey our value.
When it is your turn to express yourself, it is vital to paint a proud picture.
It is your responsibility to sell yourself.
Take a moment to think, "how much of what I say and think of myself was defined by others?"
If you want your conversation to improve, you need to enhance your story.
I hope you realise that you have control over your story.
When we think of selling ourselves, we often think of the idea of an elevator pitch, but this has a fundamental flaw.
The trick to defining your value is talking to your results rather than your process.
People are concerned with the WIIFM (What's In It For Me?), so we need to speak through the lens of, can I convey my value to show outcomes.
We don't care what you do. We are more concerned with the result of what you do.
Try these as an example;
Pitch - I write a blog on the internet about philosophy, productivity and general nonsense. Each week I post content to challenge societal ideals. You should read it.
Result- As a result of people reading my blog, they question conventional wisdom. They enjoy gaining insight and inspiration through life lessons while accelerating their learning trajectory. Do you know anyone who likes to read exciting philosophy?
Same But Different
The last key to richer interactions is to realise how we are all similar but different.
Our similarities stem from the fact we are all human (I think), and we all possess the human fallacies of emotion and ignorance.
The laws of human nature apply to all of us to an extent. So, for example, some of us have more empathy, while others are more emotionally intelligent and so on.
We each have a different balance of character traits, which helps to make the world an exciting place.
Imagine how boring it would be if everyone were exactly the same?
Accepting Our Flaws
Seek out alternative views with a keenness of understanding.
Of course, people are entitled to their contrarian opinion.
If they have a radical difference, you can speak their point back to them to make sure you understand.
People change their minds all the time, but it is not your job to try and force them, but you can attempt to reference where they are coming from.
You are entitled to criticise an opinion, but that does not mean you should blame the person. That is a blanket bomb of a personal attack that will never end well.
As one of the most eminent practising psychologists of all time, Carl Jung highlights, we can only exist peacefully with others by accepting them and ourselves as we are. (flaws and all)
"Condemnation does not liberate. It oppresses. I am the oppressor of the person I condemn, not his friend and fellow sufferer. I do not in the least mean to say that we must never pass judgement when we desire to help and improve.But if the doctor wishes to help a human being, he must be able to accept him as he is, and he can do this in reality only when he has already seen and accepted himself as he is."
Learn, Laugh and Listen
So there you have it, the manifesto to eliminate small talk forever.
The game of life is too short to waste it on one-word answers and awkward silence.
The challenge is to practice being present and potent when listening and speaking your value.
Each one of us has a story. So it's crucial to collect fascinating tales from others and to craft your own.
Find the gems hidden in plain sight, and use peoples precious words to delve deeper into a conversation.
Realise that we all share the same laws of human nature, but each one of our traits is uniquely balanced based on who we become.
Life is more enjoyable when you become interested and inquisitive.
Let's bring on the big talk.