In an age of hyper-connectivity, the power and art of conversations is being lost. If true, I for one would argue that this is a tragedy. Conversations are not a simple exchange of information between people, they can be so much more.
At times, they can be a process to clarify your own thinking, they can present an opportunity to be educated, and they can be a creative spark that changes your whole life. They can give a voice to the voiceless.
Conversations have had an indelible impact on my journey, and I’ve been obsessed with them for a long time. Which is why I devoted my recent TED Talk to them. Through this obsession, I’ve started podcasts and a marketing agency; I’ve become involved in philanthropic work; I’ve been inspired; I’ve had my mind blown wide open; and I’ve come to know more people in more intimate ways than I ever thought possible.
I view conversations as a mutual meeting of minds in search for what life, work and success are about. Conversations are a great place to think dialectically and to practise empathy. Over the years, I’ve worked on my conversational and listening skills and now, when talking to people, I try to keep my mind as open as possible.
I believe in the transformational power of conversations.
When you break it down further, the conversation is just the vehicle, not the prize itself. The real power comes in the form of expression, understanding and developing a real connection with another human being. Many people today feel alienated or misunderstood. This plays out in so many ways in the professional world and in people’s personal lives; there is a real psychic cost to this. I would argue that an antidote is good conversations. Conversations where people really get heard and feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable.
A few quotes about conversations that I love:
‘A person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.’ – Tim Ferriss
‘Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of witnesses.’ – Margaret Millar
‘Sometimes the greatest adventure is simply a conversation.’ – Amadeus Wolfe
All of these take a slightly different angle on the issue but drive home what are, for me, some of the greatest things in conversation. Being truthful, direct or saying difficult things has incredible value, conversations are not a one-way exercise, and conversations are exciting because you rarely know where they will lead.
Every time you have a conversation, all the potential outlined above is possible. That's not to say that every interaction you have will be profound; obviously, some won’t be, and that's just fine – this isn’t the point. The point is sitting with people and intentionally listening to them. Having a real conversation is a powerful thing. If you haven’t had a real conversation in a while, you need to change that.
Author: Ronsley Vaz
Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.
He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.