A fulfilling conversation where you really hear someone and feel heard in return is one of the great pleasures in life. On the flip-side, not feeling heard while trying to communicate can be disappointing, even hurtful. As someone close to me once said…“a conversation is like a beach ball being tossed around. You hold it for a little while before tossing it to someone else.” Please don’t hog the beach ball! It might be fun for the person with the ball but no so much for everyone else!
“The art of conversation is the art of hearing as well as being heard” ~William Aslet
My favorite conversations are small gatherings of two, three or four of us. When in a larger group I want to hear what everyone is saying but that can be difficult. If the party is big we tend to peel off to be able to communicate more effectively with each other. The lucky ones who have strong voices or are more assertive may have a tendency to dominate the conversation without being aware they are doing it. When that happens it makes it hard for some of us to jump into the mix.
I know this because I don’t have a “weighty voice” and it sometimes gets lost when I try to participate during larger group discussions. I’ve been known to raise my voice, more than I’m comfortable, when I want to chime in! It takes being self-aware and sensitive to others to be sure everyone has a chance to speak in a group setting. Our conversations are deeper and more meaningful when we all have an opportunity to share opinions and thoughts on a topic.
“They finally felt heard”
PJ Ferguson’s Inner Peace Podcast dated January 14, 2019, is “Loving others means listening to them”. He says listening is the key to being heard. If we have a strong view about something we want to say, it helps to first try to understand where the other person is coming from. Nothing can get accomplished if we don’t listen to each other. PJ says that a good listener will hear what a person is saying even if their words aren’t exactly clear. And when everyone is talking, trying to be heard, who IS listening?
When the embattled Puerto Rico Governor, Ricardo Rossello resigned after massive protests, a reporter covering the story said people in the street told him time and again that, after decades of government corruption, citizens of Puerto Rico told him; they finally felt heard.
“THE QUIETER YOU BECOME, THE MORE YOU CAN HEAR” ~Ram Dass
This last month has been chocked full of social gatherings, which would normally exhaust the introverted part of me. But for some reason it’s been more energizing than tiring. If I analyze why, it boils down to me making more of an effort to really listen and hearing to what is being said. Opening my heart, relaxing and being in the moment helps enormously. A bad habit many of us have (I’ve been guilty of this!) is thinking more about what we plan to say than paying attention to what the speaker is actually saying. More fulfilling conversations can happen just by making sure we stay present and focused on what our friends are trying to tell us.
An unofficial survey…
When I’ve asked people what makes a conversation fulfilling to them, the biggest take away was – connecting heart-to-heart with the person or people they’re talking to. Also important, from my unofficial survey, was they want honest, open and authentic dialog. And as we all know…listening at least as much or more than we speak is key.
In Deepak Chopra’s Miraculous Relationships meditation series he said in part “Deep listening connects our relationships Being-to-Being, heart-to-heart. This is what it is to listen to another person with full awareness. When our awareness is completely present for someone, they feel heard, seen and felt.” Our relationships become much more rewarding when we connect with each other on a deeper, less superficial level. This can only happen when I hear you and am heard in return.
For more satisfying conversations that can help enhance your relationships and deepen connections with the people in your life, here are a few tips:
For a fulfilling conversation:
- Pay full attention to the person speaking
- Be sensitive to the quiet one to make sure they’re included
- Listen more, talk less
- Be open, honest, authentic and speak from your heart
- Curiosity is an asset – ask questions for clarity and interest
- Take a breath and pass the beach ball
And please do not:
- Do all the talking
- Have all the answers
- Keep the topic about you
- Hog the beach ball
One more thing…
Needing to have a difficult but necessary conversation with someone you care about is another topic, but the basics are the same. It’s hard to go wrong when we speak from our hearts with love, compassion and honesty. Here is a good article from Psychology Today that can help: How to Have Difficult Conversations.
Till next time….
Peace & Love ♥