I’ve been thinking about how vital meaningful conversations are. I think that learning to truly listen to one another is crucial in families, with friends, in church, and in our culture, if our relationships are to be healthy and what God intends.
Having meaningful conversations is something that can be learned, and with focus and practice, we can all become better at it. Here are suggestions to help engage in meaningful conversations:
1. Make it about the other person.
Don’t talk endlessly about something that the other person isn’t really interested in. That leaves the other person with the impression that you’re having a conversation with yourself, and they just happen to be there. Don’t be oblivious. Be sensitive to their needs. The best conversations begin with showing an interest in the other person, their world, and what they might be interested in.
2. Ask good questions.
Ask open-ended question that do not expect a “yes” or “no” answer”. Ask questions about feelings as well as about facts or thoughts.
2. Practice active listening
Don’t just think about what you want to say next while someone else is speaking. Listen so that you might be able to repeat back to the other person in summary form what they said to you.
3. Intentionally move conversations to a deeper level.
Take a risk. Be vulnerable. Share on a deeper level yourself so the other person may be open to do the same.
4. Consider place and time.
Places that are noisy with a lot of people around are not the best places to engage in meaningful conversations which require a relaxed pace and an atmosphere free of distractions. If people are really tired, that’s not really a great time for a significant conversation.
This year I hope we will all challenge ourselves to engage in more meaningful conversations. It may surprise us what a difference that will make in our relationships.