Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The art of conversation

Eating has always been viewed as social and sociable. We always offer refreshment when anyone visits, even if it is only a cup of tea, it will be accompanied by cake or biscuits. And if we are offering alcohol, then there will more than likely be crisps or nuts. And, hopefully, conversation.

I often think that the art of conversation has been buried alive under television, radio and technology. When did you last have a conversation with someone? I mean beyond a greeting. When we ask someone how they are, do we really expect them to answer us fully? We, more often than not, hope that they won't because a full and truthful answer might embroil us in lengthy sympathy or insincere congratulation. Or, heaven forbid, they might ask for a favour!

We all talk, but do we all listen? And here is the usual excuse - we don't have time. At least, that is our perception.

Have a real conversation this week. Even if it is only one. And listen carefully to the other person, give him or her your full attention. Listening involves more than just the ears - there is additional information given in the tone and register of the words used, in facial expression and body language. Is the other person really listening to you, or does he/she have a glazed expression or one eye on the TV?

Conversation is food for the soul. It acknowledges our existance. It feeds our need for recognition.

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