And I am longing for more conversations in person. Less screens, more humans.
It’s almost the end of 2022 and I am looking forward to the traditions and rituals that accompany the close of the year. The celebrations. Times with those close to me. Spiced cookies. The art of giving. Lighting candles to brighten the shorter, darker days.
In a similar way, I have been considering the traditions and rituals of conversations. At home, as we have more time for these over the holidays, and at work.
Conversations are the simplest way we can connect with others. To share ideas and information, stories, and emotions. Yet because they happen every day, it’s easy to find ourselves having the same conversations with the same people. Asking the same questions and not giving our full attention to the answers.
How often do you take a step back to consider the power that every conversation holds? For you and for the people you are talking with.
Imagine if conversations only came around once a year. What would be the most precious parts for you? Which traditions and rituals would you relish and embrace? Which might you leave aside?
Here are some of my favourite conversational traditions/rituals:
- Inject a sprinkling of humour or silliness. So often I am surprised by how seriously we take ourselves. Especially in our work conversations. There is very often the opportunity to lighten things up. For a brief moment, with a few unexpected words.
- Try out a new question on different people. A couple of my current favourites, ‘What has hooked you this week?’ and ‘What has been a sparkling moment for you this week?’.
- Intentionally remove my phone from the environment. It sounds so simple, and I know it’s so important, yet still… it is not always so simple to do. But when I do – it makes all the difference to the quality of the experience.
- Say hello to everyone I pass on my morning dog walk. Mostly I just get a hello back and that’s wonderful – I’m not looking to stop or chat. But sometimes my ‘hellos’ evolve into much richer conversations and these can be surprising and wonderful too.
- Play with a quiet moment. We can be afraid of silences. We look to fill them, to push them aside, or to head them off before they have a chance to be. If we are brave enough to notice them and hold onto them, they can help us take a breath and become more aware of our conversational state.
Our conversations are precious opportunities – embrace the power that every one of them offers us.
I’d love to hear what happens.