pilgrimage and meeting many, many strangers. It seems in the short encounters they have, they share some part of them that is vulnerable. In chapter 8 he thinks, "It must be the same all over England. People were buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appalling weight of the thing they were carrying inside." The conversations he has with these strangers are a profound part of his journey. I can relate, there are some conversations that have impacted my life immeasurably. I love a good conversation, it is so energizing, thought provoking, and inspiring. Those conversations rarely start with "what's new with you?" I think that is why we often like the formal setting of a book club discussion. It allows us to drive the conversations deeper and hear how other people think about and approach life.
If you haven't thought about your conversation style lately, or brushed up on practicing some new skills. Here are a 6 tips to get you started :
1. Be Real, Share You: There is also a whole side of conversation that has to do with sharing your whole self. Brene Brown gave an incredible Ted Talk in 2010 about this very topic, titled, The Power of Vulnerabilty. Don't be afraid to show you aren't perfect. It's how we develop real connections. If you haven't watched this TED Talk, do it now.
3. Ask thoughful questions: Although it is tempting to comment on the cute skirt someone is wearing and the let the conversation continue on to where they bought it etc...Consider moving past the small talk and talk about something more meaningful. Observe and listen carefully, the questions will come.
4. Shared experience: If you have an experience that is very similar to what they are sharing, err on the side of not sharing unless it really is your own story, then be brief. The last thing people want, is for their experience to be diminished by your neighbor or sister's experience. Instead ask a thoughtful followup question that communicates your compassion, or if you are worried about upstaging their story just say "me too."
5. Outsiders: If you are having a conversation and notice a spouse or a few people on the sidelines, draw them in and include them. You never know what new connections you will make.
6. Stop Talking: If you have been doing all the talking, Ask something thoughtful and then stop and breathe. Allow the other person the opportunity to share, think or participate a little more.
Enough one sided chatter (wink),