I saw a wonderful Ted Talk by Celeste called 10 ways to have a better conversation. She made a great point about how she makes money being a speaker for a living where she talks to people from all walks of life, some who she finds deeply inspiring to others who she disagrees with vehemently.
She’s emphatic in stating that irrespective of whether she finds someone interesting or whether she disagrees with someone vehemently, she always has a great conversation regardless.
This was profound for me, for I find that when I don’t agree with someone’s political views or philosophies, its like I can feel a switch in my head turning off, no longer rendering me open to listening.
Celeste stated that we should forget all the advice we’d been previously given such us looking the person in the eye, think of interesting topics to discuss, nod to show you’re paying attention and summarise what you heard – forget it all.
If you’re paying attention – you don’t actually need to show you are. She uses professional interview skills for regular life to help you have better conversations. Celeste’s 10 basic rules:
1. Don’t multi task. Be present – be in THAT moment
2. Don’t pontificate – write a blog if you don’t want someone else’s opinion.
3. Use open ended questions who, what, where, when, why or how – complicated questions render simple answers – let THEM describe it.. What was that like? How did that feel?
4. Go with the flow – thoughts will come into your mind, but let them go out of your mind
5. If you don’t know, say you don’t know – err on the side of caution
6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs – if they’re talking about a family member that’s sick, its not your cue to talk about your ill mother – experiences may be similar, but our responses are never the same
7. Try not to repeat yourself – its condescending and boring – continually rephrasing your points
8. Stay out of the weeds. People don’t care about details, they care about you, what you’re like and what you have in common
9. Listen. This is the MOST important point. When I’m talking, I’m the centre of attention and I’m in control.
10. Debrief. Be interested in other people. Be prepared to be amazed.
Although words are free, it’s how we use them that can potentially cost us, whether that’s a relationship or a job. The human tongue is like a beast that we learn to master over the years. It can strain under pressure and if it is not tamed, it has the potential to run wild and cause us grief.
Words are seeds that do more than blow around. They land in our hearts and not the ground so it’simportant that we’re careful with what we plant and what we say.
In my experience, this can either cause us to take on other people’s projections, or to develop strong defence mechanisms, or in most cases, both.
I can think of many times when my self-esteem plummeted after being insulted, and can think of just as many occasions when my retorts stung even worse than what had been directed to me.
I’m also aware of how language within mainstream and even sub cultures has the ability to make a certain gender or ethnicity feel inferior, for I’ve experienced both myself. It’s why I try to cultivate kindness and wisdom with my words.
One thing I haven’t experienced however, is the feeling that my sexuality was somehow ‘wrong’, or not normal. In fact, I never gave this a second thought til I became a wedding celebrant. Since the amendment to the Marriage Act was passed, I’m delighted that I can now legally marry same sex couples.
In fact, I’ll be officiating a wedding for my dear friends this weekend where I won’t be legally obliged to say “According to law in Australia, marriage is a union between a man and a woman…” from now on, it’s the “union between 2 people..” and my heart feels lighter knowing that I won’t be offending any guests in the room.
Aside from my 1:1 sessions, my yoga and healing work is morphing into different spaces. I yearn to provide a container that holds a powerful space for transformation for you that are deeper than just a one off class or workshop.
It’s why I’m beyond thrilled to be hosting another retreat from 16 – 18 February next year. The EARLY BIRD price ends soon so get in quick so that you can secure your place for a soulful rest and a conscious shedding of what no longer serves you. I’d absolutely LOVE it if you joined me!