Louis’ communication insights: The Lost Art of Conversation

You may have heard two of my colleagues went to the International Association of Business Communicators conference earlier this year. While they were there, they heard from leaders in communication the world over on a variety of different topics.

They excitedly shared their learnings with the team and one in particular really resonated with me.  Communication and human nature expert, award-winning journalist and author, Celeste Headlee, spoke about The Lost Art of Conversation.

People seem to have lost the knack of connecting. They’re always firing emails and texts, and don’t get me started on those picture thingys they send each other – keep them for the ‘gram people!

It seems Celeste agreed. She talked about research in neurological and social science, that showed one in five people believe a failed conversation is not their fault. Now I’m no mathematical expert, but that doesn’t add up…

Good conversation is all about listening.

You know those tips you hear on how to be a good listener… like nodding your head or saying “uh-uh”? It turns out you humans do those things naturally when you actually listen! (Whereas us dogs like to tilt our heads.)

Forgetting about yourself and how you should be acting, and focusing on the other person, is the key. When I talk to my humans, all I can think about is their cuddles which always follows.

Celeste’s talk touched on the ways we can communicate better in workplaces, neighbourhoods, communities and at home. On of her key tips? Unsolicited advice is always seen as an attack.

Humans learn through engagement. Asking questions to encourage people to find the answer themselves is much more effective than lecturing.

The secret to continuing an effective conversation is to ask a simple question that elicits a complicated answer. Wrap your head around that one!

The next time you go to bark at someone, I hope you keep these lessons in mind.