What is the first impression that comes to your mind when hearing the word ‘Conscious Conversation’?
Is it making a compelling statement, reinforcing the vision, sharing, learning, growing relationships, or building higher trust and commitment?
Well, whichever way you may define it, the fact is that all of us wish to master this art. Before we get into this, let us try and understand human behavior.
Our response is an outcome of our consciousness, thoughts, values, beliefs, culture, past experiences, and social conditioning.
So, when having a dialogue with someone, what is the best way to breach all these filters and get the message across?
Here are some of the techniques that you can try to dip into your consciousness and have more fruitful dialogue:
1. Judge less involve more
At the start of the discussion, ask yourself: how can I approach this conversation with curiosity instead of judgment?
Focus on facts rather than the delusions of the mind. Hold on to realities and the potential consequences attached to them.
Use the following technique to reduce judgment during a conversation:
- Listen to any five minutes talk or speech in one go and write down the facts and feelings under two columns on a paper.
- Listen to it again and recheck the facts and feelings you have captured and see if you have missed anything.
Consistent practice of this exercise will make your mind more focused on facts. You will be able to listen with none or minimum judgment.
2. Listen to learn, not to reply
Most of the time, when listening to the other person, our attention is divided between listening and thinking about our response to the other person.
It hampers our ability to absorb the information to its absolute. Try and give full attention to the thoughts of the speaker till they finish, and then only think about your response.
Also, when it is time for you to respond, do not rush to speak. Take a pause and ask the speaker what do they wish.
It will give you more certainty on the speaker’s outlook of the situation and the aspired resolution.
3. Be extra mindful
Pay attention to the non-verbal cues in the conversation. Be aware of not just what you say but how you say it.
Focus on your body language, gestures, postures, and facial expressions to convey not just the words but the deep purpose hidden behind them.
Also, focus on the listener’s body language. At times we are so absorbed in our emotions that we completely ignore the other person’s inarticulate hints.
How are they responding? See what makes them comfortable and what words or actions of yours make them feel awkward. The more mindful you get, the better you can connect with your audiences.
4. Acknowledge even if you agree or disagree
Acknowledging is the way of telling the other person that you are with them in this conversation even though you do not agree with their words.
Do not confuse acknowledging with accepting. Just because you empathize with how the other person is feeling does not mean that you consent with their thoughts.
It is a potent way to mellow down any conflict which could lead to an unproductive conversation. One may use different methods to acknowledge the speaker.
However, a short pause or silence is the best to make the maximum impact. Sometimes, silence does the spell that no words can match.
5. Watch your breath
The more conscious you are about your breath, the better you can focus on creating mindful conversations.
Observe your respiration rate when in a restful condition. With frequent deep breathing practice, you’ll see that the breaths per minute have come down with time.
Breathing exercises make you more aware, and with awareness comes a deep sense of having a more powerful conscious conversation.
Follow these steps, and you’ll recognize that you have become proficient in the art of having conscious conversations with time.
However, remember that it is not just about what you say or how you say but how you make the other person feel in your presence.