When you dedicate an event to conversations, you let the essence of human relationships become the main focus and provide a higher perspective about a subject we all share as professionals. For example each day we talk with our peers and co-workers to move projects forward, find innovative solutions to make our work more impactful and more efficient.
The art of conversation is a natural activity we have been practicing ever since we were children with dozens of different people each day. Sometimes trivial or useful, sometimes stimulating and enthusiastic, conversations are a socialising tool which determines our thoughts and actions.
As customer service and marketing professionals, we spend our days seeking the right pitch analysing an increasing amount of data to better understand our customers to address the right persona in a personalised way. In principle, conversations are a natural activity, and yet, the majority of our efforts aims at recreating its effects: to spark interest, advise, convince, charm, move, reassure, etc.
There is nothing better than getting back to basics and so here are 4 articles for you to reconnect with the art of conversation.
10 ways to have a better conversation
We can always improve our conversations! Celeste Headlee has been working as a radio host for decades and she knows the ingredients to share a good conversation: honesty, brevity, clarity and, above all, attentiveness. She shares 10 useful rules to hold a conversation in the following TED conference.
The art of the interview
Knowing how to interview people means knowing how to engage the conversation, revive it, listen to your respondent and, above all, create a conversation. The art of the interview is not strictly for journalists, presenters and other event hosts. On the contrary, interviews can feed our daily conversations. Here is some advice from Marc Pachter, cultural history advisor, on how to conduct interviews.
Conversations and cultural norms
This French article is 20 years old… and yet it reminds us that each culture has its own specificities in terms of conversation. Looking people into their eyes, interrupting our respondent, accepting or avoiding moments of silence, … We have either been taught or implicitly learnt many social codes.
They are the descendants of hieroglyphs and are one of the best ways for us to illustrate our emotions. They have become a design classic and a communication tool on its own. Why and how did Shigetaka Kurita, Japanese artist, invented the first emojis in 1999? Find it out in this article from the Guardian.
Other resources to get inspired
100 tricks to appear smart in meetings, Sarah Cooper, Square Peg, 2016.
Sarah Cooper is a former employee from Yahoo! and Google. Since 2014, she holds a blog, The Cooper Review, in which she shares with humor unusual and crisp anecdotes about the corporate world. She also published a book in which she shares tips to shine, impress and prepare for your nomination as a CEO during a professional dinner or meeting.
Interviews from the Paris Review, since the 1950’s.
This iconic magazine was born in New York at the beginning of the 1950’s. At each one of its publications since the beginning, the Paris Review shares the interview of a writer. More focused on American authors in its early years, worldwide writers – Emmanuel Carrère and Michel Houellebecq among the French ones – have then been added to the long list of interviewees: Hemingway, Faulkner, Capote, Kerouac, etc.