Quality Conversations Make You Feel Good
Don’t you just love it when you have a great catch-up with a friend?
What makes catching-up so great?
Is it the person, what they say? What they’ve been up to, or is it because they show an interest in you?
What about conversations with your partner? What makes them great?
Is it the story telling, the humour or reminiscing from days gone by?
Perhaps it’s a bit of everything?
Let’s take a look at how you can have more deep and fulfilling conversations.
What are Deep Conversations?
It’s not often we stop and take a look at what makes up quality communication. Apart from learning English (or language study) at school and picking up cues from socialising in general, we don’t often learn or think about what makes up great communication.
Sure there are marketing degrees and specialist leadership courses, for example, but are they relevant to having deep conversations with your partner?… Perhaps not.
Layers of Deep Communication
How do you have deep conversations?
First up – This article builds on the previous resource “Your Guide to Deep Communication”.
So if you haven’t read that, check it out now – then come come back here to continue reading.
You need to understand the essential concepts to grasp what we will be referring to in this post.
Getting the foundations in place is critical for deep communication and wonderful fulfilling conversations with the people you love.
Things to Stop Doing for Better Conversations
To have better conversations and deeper communication, it makes sense to first stop doing things that detract from having a wonderful conversation.
You don’t have to be Churchill, Oprah or an ‘intellectual’ to have a deep conversation. In fact deep conversations can be held by anyone, including children.
You see, anyone can give their full attention if they choose to. So start quality conversations by first stopping what you’re currently doing and give your full attention to the person you are talking to.
How much difference would this one change make in your relationship?
I encourage you to look over the first two layers of the Deep Communication graphic below. Here, you can see many of the things you want to do less of. Be sure to check out the full Deep Communication resource for further understanding.
Acceptance & Availability
The next concept to embrace for deeper communication and more effective relationships is to let go of your own needs and wants. Allow yourself to open up to the other person and the elements within the deeper communication layers.
Having trust helps. But even in a trusting relationship, it takes courage to open up, be accepting of your weakness and flaws, and have availability toward the other persons needs.
You might naturally be a good listener, or have a combination of traits that make you a good communicator, but there could be something you could be better on. So find out what that is.
Look at the ‘tags’ in the layers and see what stands out as something you can be better on.
Perhaps you occasionally interrupt? Maybe you are quick to judge? Perhaps you are at times self-centred and steer the conversation to be about you?
Find the areas you can brush up on, and make a note to be aware of them.
Which leads to the next skill…
Quality communication is built on a ‘live’ level of self awareness. Think back to your favourite conversations. What made them great?
One thing they will all have in common is an abundance of self awareness.
When both people are aware of themselves and the conversation they are having they can each detect where the conversation is going, how they are feeling, and how the other person is feeling.
For example, you can sense:
- The levels of interest
- The levels of understanding
- The best styles of communication
- Areas of intrigue, humour, usefulness
- Engagement and purpose
- Character and authenticity
- Pathways to deeper conversations
- Distractions, and other ‘surface level’ talking points
- And so much more…
There are many areas you are constantly monitoring when talking to someone. No wonder meeting new people can be a bit daunting!
Much of this monitoring is done on auto-pilot, which on one hand can help us relax, and be present; but by raising these points into our conscious awareness, you can become a mindful communicator.
In this ‘space’ you will be able to listen better, and make the changes you desire to become a better communicator!
Start being a mindful communicator in your next conversation – What will you notice?
Mindful Communication helps you be a better communicator.
Raising the quality of your communication can take many forms. Let’s look at a couple of ways you can be more mindful, when communicating and find the top areas for you to improve on.
You might think you are a great communicator because you lead the debate team at school. You might think you are an excellent communicator because you are a manager or great team player on the sports field.
But those roles are often so narrow – that their relevance is limited or misguided when it comes to deep and meaningful communication.
When you think about it, debating is about ‘winning an argument’ and bending facts to suit a narrative. While discounting the other sides’ point of view. Not the best strategy for a loving and inclusive conversation.
Communication in the workplace, usually has a hierarchy bearing over the communication, along with a reward /punishment vale draped over the conversations too.
So again, these types of conversations may be hampered from the start.
Look at the tags in the first two layers of the deep communication graphic. I think you’ll agree that on any given day at work your responses are going to be influenced by being pleasing to the boss, needing to be right in front of the junior employees, etc.
Or perhaps you are tired at work and resort to bland, lazy, comforting and agreeable conversations to pass the time and get through the day?
Discover your limitations. Raise your awareness. Be mindful of how you show up for conversations.
Quick Summary for Deep Communication so Far
Let’s take stock of what we have covered so far.
- You are aware of why you need deep communication and the benefits that stem from quality conversations.
- You’ve covered the foundations of deep communication and have an understanding of the elements at play.
- You have identified your quirks and what you need to stop doing.
- You’ve accepted your weaknesses and are more open and available in conversations, especially to people you trust.
- You are raising your self-awareness during conversations, tuned in beyond the ‘shallow layers’.
- You are mindfully communicating, and practicing deep communication.
With that in mind – let’s dive in to the good stuff – the rich layers of deep communication.
Empathic Listening & Authenticity
In the third layer of the deep communication graphic we have Empathic Listening and Authenticity.
Ticking the boxes to the list above allows you to communicate successfully in this layer and have quality communication.
It’s all about hearing each other, and understanding the meaning behind the words.
It’s about asking great questions to get the best out of each other.
It’s about being creative and inquisitive and exploring that deeper meaning. Finding the why behind their opinion, stance, or belief.
It’s about building trust, and using that trust to ask hard but respectful questions.
It’s about giving each other space, picking up on the body language and being disciplined to ‘go there’ or ‘push through’ or ‘ease off’, for the greater outcomes.
It’s about taking responsibility for what you say. For crafting your words carefully and honestly. For listening without judgement and having self control to ‘process’, before ‘reacting’.
It’s about taking the mature approach and processing your understanding on multiple levels. A logical or ‘head’ level. An emotional or ‘heart’ level, and an ‘actionable’ or gut level.
It’s about using your knowledge and worldly wisdom to analyse, distill, and propose ideas and ways forward.
It’s about honesty, your character and being authentic. True to your word and honouring your commitments.
It’s about putting yourself in other’s shoes and taking the time to ‘get it’.
Deep Understanding & Trust
At the deepest layer, we have the ‘gold’ in understanding and trust.
Descending through to deep understanding and trust is rewarding. It harps back to the beginning of the article about the best conversations you’ve had. Catching up with great friends, and having wonderful conversations – that mean something, with people you love, trust and care about.
Looking at this layer, its about communicating with honesty. Not hiding behind mis-truths or dodging responsibility. It’s being fine with saying “I don’t know” when you don’t know.
It’s about listening compassionately and speaking boldly with conviction, using all of your being, from the heart, mind and gut.
It’s being transparent, no hidden agenda, and your boundaries are clear. It’s being firm when you need to be and assertive too.
It’s about context and understanding the dynamics at play.
It’s about communicating mindfully and continuing your legacy of who you are.
It’s about decisiveness and bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together to make the best decisions you can at the time.
It’s being humble in who you are and your achievements. It’s about being equal and fair to everyone.
It’s about second chances and being willing to admit your mistakes. It’s being open and willing to accept the apologies of others.
It’s about appreciating each other and being grateful for the rich experience we can share together.
Ultimately it’s about the community and world we shape. One deep conversation at a time.
Have deep conversations. Practice them with your partner. Have them with your kids, friends, family and beyond.
Tow shallow conversations to deeper water. Help other’s have deeper conversations. Raise the bar. Be the tide that lifts all boats.
Check out the following related resources to help you have deep conversations and closer, more meaningful relationships.