The art of conversation is listening

With the long weekend round the corner lot of thoughts must have gone into what is the best way to spend the National Day holidays.
What is a holiday?
For some it is a trip to a destination to make one feel refreshed and rejuvenated. For some others a holiday is to do nothing but to catch up with the self. Yet for others it is about spending time with family and friends. Then of course there would be the odd ones out working during the holidays and dreaming about the compemsatory offs.
Sometimes you need a break from one self and that is when it is important to spend time listening to others and read autobiographies. It is so easy to think our way is right all the time or linger with the thought our pain is the biggest and our sorrow is the most unbearable.
It does not mean one has to feel low to appreciate what one is blessed with. But giving time to others and reading about the achievers in the world can inspire us about all the possibilities that are still waiting to be fulfilled.
One does not have to take a hard stand to make a point; instead one could lead by being the example. So would it not be wonderful to take time to appreciate what others do to make a difference. These are the people who are not sung about and theirs might not be stories that are shared on social media. A potential assignment for this long weekend could be then to choose a person you take for granted (it could be family member, a colleague or friend). They are present in your life and that is it. Of course it is considered rude to ask personal questions that is why it is enough to listen.
Listening as a skill is often underrated. As an interviewer the listening skill is a requirement. Usually in a conversation when a person is speaking to us our thoughts begin to run parallel — triggered thoughts that took off from the words uttered by the speaker. Soon you have the urge to step in and share your story and in a short while both of you forget what the original topic was.
At times it is a beautiful experience and other times you walk away confused. A conversation is an art some excel in it while others just mange it to save time and situation. Some of the most meaningful conversations happen when least planned. At times in the simplest of places we strike new friendships. In other situations we tend to make the most confessing conversations with total strangers. It is simple — you know you are not going to be judged and even if they do it is not going to project any harm as you are never going to meet the person again. It gives you tremendous relief and the magic of a good conversation is that once you have opened up about something that has been troubling you, that very subject has lost control over you. You feel lighter it is because you have not only shared the thoughts but shifted the burden out of your system and it is probably not much of a burden to the stranger who was part of your conversation.
So we know we need to have more conversations but yet we would not dream of having any and you know why — lack of trust and fear of judgment.
Now there are two types of people too. Being in the communication field for 25 years gives you an insight into personalities. Obviously there are introverts and extroverts. As we all know introverts like to keep to themselves and we are quick to judge them as being either shy or proud. Introverts are the observers but they could also be busy in their mind. Opening up to a conversation could be very painful. So here lies the challenge — can you be the one to inspire a conversation and let the other person talk? The true art of conversation is not about having the right vocabulary, voice quality, pitch and never ending topics. It is the sensitivity to let the other person speak uninhibitedly.
Have a wonderful holiday and conversations.

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