Home Tech The science of having a great conversation

The science of having a great conversation

0 comment
The science of having a great conversation

If you have ever You talked to someone and then felt like you would have been better off spending your time talking to a brick wall, you’ll surely relate to Rebecca West’s observations. “There is no such thing as conversation,” the novelist and literary critic wrote in her collection of short stories. The hard voice. “It is an illusion. There are monologues that intersect, that’s all.”

If someone feels that their conversations have left no impression on those around them, then that is the definition of existential isolation. You’ve probably experienced this on a bad date, at a horrible dinner, or during an endless family gathering.

Psychological research has identified many habits and biases that impose barriers between ourselves and others, and if we want to have a greater connection with the people around us, we must learn to overcome them. The good news is that the fixes are very easy to implement. Small adjustments in our conversation style can bring enormous benefits.

Let’s start with the sins of inattention. “The art of conversation is the art of hearing and being heard,” declared the early 19th-century essayist William Hazlitt in his book About the author conversationpublished in 1820. “Some of the best conversationalists are, in this sense, the worst company.”

Hazlitt noted that many of his literary acquaintances, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Stendhal, and William Wordsworth, were so interested in displaying their wit and intelligence that they lacked the basic civility to listen to others. Instead, he recommended that we imitate the painter James Northcote, who he claimed was the best listener and, as a result, the best conversationalist he knew. “I never ate or drank with Mr. Northcote; but I have lived through his conversation with absolute delight for as long as I can remember,” Hazlitt wrote. Who wouldn’t want his acquaintances to feel that way?

The easiest way to achieve this is to ask more questions; However, surprisingly few people have cultivated this habit effectively. While studying for a doctorate in organizational behavior at Harvard University, Karen Huang invited more than 130 participants He entered his laboratory and asked them to talk in pairs for a quarter of an hour via an online instant messenger. She found that even in those 15 minutes, people’s rate of questions varied widely, from about four or less on the low end to nine or more on the high end.

Asking more questions can make a big difference in someone’s likability. in a separate experimentHuang’s team analyzed recordings of people’s conversations during a speed dating event. Some people consistently asked more questions than others, and this significantly predicted their chances of getting a second date.

It’s easy to understand why questions are so lovely: they demonstrate your desire to build mutual understanding and give you the opportunity to validate each other’s experiences. But even if we ask a lot of questions, we may not be asking the right ones. In his analysis, Huang considered six different categories of questions. You can see the examples below:

1. Introductory
Hey, how are you doing?

2. Tracking
I’m planning a trip to Canada.
Oh great. Have you ever been there before?

3. Complete change
I’m working in a dry cleaner.
What do you like to do to have fun?

4. Partial change
I’m not much of an outdoorsy person, but I’m not opposed to a walk or something like that once in a while.
Have you been to the beach in Boston much?

You may also like