How to Have Meaningful Conversations Even When You Are Busy
👉It is becoming increasingly difficult to have meaningful conversations. Texts, emails, and social media are commonplace distractions and hamper our ability to engage in productive conversations. This can be incredibly frustrating when colleagues are trying to resolve work issues. Follow these 5 STEPS to improve your communication strategy:
Step #1 Focus: Multitasking may be acceptable in certain situations, but not when you are having a conversation. If you are trying to write an email, answer the phone, and have a face-to-face discussion all at the same time, something will be lost. Whenever you are having a conversation, give the other person some focused time. You will make them feel important, and you may learn something that will make a difference in the outcome of the conversation.
Step #2 Be an Active Listener: Contrary to popular belief, listening is not a passive activity. Active, effective listening takes practice. The message you send to the speaker is critical to creating a productive conversation. It includes body language, eye contact, demonstrating interest, and using good summarizing techniques (“so what I hear you saying is….”).
Step #3 Ask Good Questions: In order to have a meaningful conversation, both parties need to be engaged. If you ask a few relevant questions, it will show you are interested and help to clarify what is being said. The answers to the questions will also help bridge the gap between being barely involved and totally engaged.
Step #4 Take Notes: It is a compliment to the speaker when you take notes during or immediately after an important conversation. Since we have many discussions during the day, it is hard to remember everything unless you document it somewhere. Record takeaways from the conversation to save time in the future and to help you remember important information.
Step #5 Consider the Communication Style of Your Listeners: Everyone has a preferred communication style. Think about how the listener will receive your words and try to modify your conversation to maximize the impact. Does the listener like to get all the details, or do they prefer a more strategic approach? Is the listener generally empathetic to the needs of others or more egocentric? If you consider the listener’s perspective, you will have more effective conversations and get more satisfactory results.