Thomas H Czech
November 14, 2010
What does it mean to converse or to have a conversation?
In my opinion to have a conversation means to have a dialogue between two or more people in a manner which is respectful to all parties involved. This simply means to give each person the respect to allow them to speak; to allow them to say what they need or want to say without being interrupted.
To be able to have a conversation is an art; a lost art. Today people seem to be unable to hold meaningful conversations with one another. It seems that everyone has a lot to say but are unable to convey their opinion or thought in a proper well thought out and meaningful manner. Also, the person who is trying to speak is cut off or interrupted as the other party involved will try to get his or her opinion across before the other person is finished speaking.
When a person interrupts another it comes across as if the one doing the interrupting has little or no respect or value for that individual. It feels as if what the person has to say is of little or no relevance to the other or lacks any importance. It is a rude and disrespectful thing to do.
Does this mean that we have all become self-absorbed? Not necessarily, we have simply lost the art of conversation. We are not taught to speak anymore. We have become far too reliant on electronics to get our points across. We live in the electronic age where texting, keyboarding and the internet have become the main means of communicating instead of verbal communication.
I firmly believe that we need to teach communication, not just written, but also verbal. In order for upcoming generations to become successful human beings in a competitively growing society we need to teach them the art of verbal communication. How would it look for a young person entering the workforce to have all the electronic communication skills but no verbal communication skills? He is able to write documents and make excellent electronic media but is unable to get his point across verbally to other board members? How far would he get in his career?
How do we change this? First and foremost we must teach self-awareness. A person has to learn to be self-aware, this means that he/she learn his/her likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses and how he or she wants others to speak to them. Once this foundation is laid, one can then begin to build on language, learn how to say things, what needs to be said–and what doesn’t. After all, just because you have something to say doesn’t mean you have to say it.
The next is to learn the attitude of speech. With what attitude are you speaking? What is the attitude behind your words? And why do you have that particular attitude? Does your attitude match your words? Another important aspect to the art of conversation is the volume of your voice, some people have naturally loud voices, so when they get into a debate or argument their voices become even louder. Even though they do not mean to yell, they are. Thus the argument becomes more heated and out of control as the other person will feel attacked. This is where your self-awareness comes into play. You need to know and understand the volume, tone and the attitude behind the words which you are speaking.
Once you have an understanding of yourself you then need to practice communicating. Take little steps. First speak to yourself, and listen to what your words sound like, maybe you can record yourself and play it back. Second, speak to a person, but before you do you must prepare your mind, tell yourself to pay attention. Then when speaking to the other person listen to his or her words, and when it is your turn speak, listen to what you are saying, pay close attention to your words, tone of voice, attitude with how you are conveying the information and the volume of your voice, also think of whether or not you need to say certain things. Perhaps you can or should leave certain things out.
This is the beginning of learning the art of communication. This takes practice, it is learned through repetition. Once you have mastered this you will become more confident and a more productive member of society and you may also get the job or promotion which you have longed for, for quite some time.
Now you have the foundation of the art of communication. Practice it and learn it, it is good for you and those around you.
©Thomas H Czech, 2010