How Good Conversation Builds Our Character

The ideal conversation is one that builds character. A person’s integrity, their absolute truthfulness and honesty in the face of adversity, are all traits best developed through tough conversations with others. We explore what makes a good talker, as well as how to have better ones.,

The “the art of conversation” is a skill that we can all learn. It builds our character and strengthens relationships.

Much has been written about how technology-driven decreases in our face-to-face contacts may be harming our physical and mental health. Anxiety, despair, and maybe some illnesses have been on the rise as a result of the lack of healthy connections.

While the severe psychological and physiological implications of the loss of face-to-face communication need constant attention, this trend also has another negative effect that is often overlooked: a loss of character.

While we typically think of character as something that is only formed in extreme circumstances, if not in major crises, then in morally significant actions, it may really be produced in any of our normal, daily activities. Everything we do has an outside and internal influence because of how we carry it out. This is true for any habit, but it is especially true of communication. Face-to-face dialogue is one of the finest methods to train the human spirit because of its everyday accessibility, repetition (allowing for practice, correction, and refining), and the multiple, different qualities it draws upon and exercises.  

The following are some of the numerous aspects of character that may be developed by active, effortful conversation participation:

Self-Control

It’s easy to overlook how much self-control is required to participate in a conversation since the actions we must summon happen with so little conscious awareness.

We must be aware of our body language and facial expressions, displaying attention and friendliness while avoiding eye rolls, inappropriate looks of astonishment, disgust, or boredom, and postures that seem closed-off, anxious, or defensive. We must be careful what we say, avoiding nonsequiturs, excessive negativity and complaints, gossip, and accidental insults to the person we are conversing with and others they know. We must refrain from expressing things that are thoughtless, whether literally or metaphorically, as in meaningless or hurtful to another’s sentiments. We must pay close attention to what the other person says and respond correctly, aiming for the right tone and substance in our comments. We must carefully choose our words, convey them clearly, and speak at a comfortable pace.

Overall, having a decent conversation takes a great deal of mental discipline! (Which is why, whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, a night of socializing may leave you exhausted.) Face-to-face conversations are an underappreciated tool on the road to self-mastery.

Focus

Conversation is a unique opportunity to practice being present in the moment. To truly engage it, you must turn off all outside distractions and disconnect from your gadgets. To listen intently to someone else, you must constantly bring your thoughts back to the current moment. You must believe that there is no place you would rather be than being there, right now, with this other person.

A Favoritism for Effort and Action

It’s easy to be the person who waits for others to initiate contact, hoping that someone else will approach and initiate conversation with him. It’s also simple to sit back, just half-listening, and let others do the hard work of conversation — to let others introduce all the subjects and come up with questions to ask.

 

These passive characteristics are sometimes misconstrued as shyness or introversion, when they are really the hallmarks of inactivity or downright laziness. For example, we may claim that we can’t recall what someone told us about X because of a bad memory but, in reality, we just didn’t pay attention.

A good conversationalist isn’t passive or inactive; he takes the initiative. He understands that, like any great activity, discussion requires effort. Rather of waiting for a wonderful conversation to occur, he initiates one and provides the necessary energy to keep it going.

Calm Confidence

If excellent conversation needs an action-oriented mindset, it also necessitates mastery of reaction.

Each partner gives comments that address and expand on what the other person says in conversation, and the deftness of those responses can only come through careful listening. In a condition of tension and anxiety, it’s impossible to pay attention to what the other person is saying because you’re preoccupied with your own personal turmoil. Your words will be jumpy, uncomfortable, hurried, and/or slurred as a result of your anxiety. As a result, a skilled conversationalist must learn to calm down.

Even if one is not anxious when socializing, one must have a calm, collected demeanor when the other person says anything that may be disrespectful, anger-inducing, jealousy-inducing, or just contradicts one’s own beliefs. The capacity to absorb anything someone says with unflappable serenity and stoic equanimity allows one unafraid to engage in any kind of conversation with anybody.

Humility

Small talk aversion is sometimes disguised as a dislike for the superficial, yet it stems from a less attractive sort of pride. It’s the same ego that wants to skip through the less thrilling early stages of every new venture in order to get directly to the meat of the matter. The guy who avoids small chat believes that such “menial” dialogue is beneath him, just as he avoids beginning at the lowest rung of a job in order to work his way up.

A competent conversationalist understands that the progress of every endeavor begins with the fundamentals, with mastering the essentials. He doesn’t think he’s too good for small talk, and he’s ready to start small and allow the conversation blossom over time.

Observational Skills

Conversation is a remarkably rich, varied, and subtle terrain. As you travel through its contours, take note of the places where you and the other person connect and disagree; the topics he finds most engaging to discuss; the pauses, hesitations, and subtle changes in tone that emphasize or belie the words spoken, or reveal a tremor of meaning left unexpressed; a passing reference that points to a revelation he’d like to reveal but is having trouble surfacing directly; and a reference mentioned in passing that points to a revelation he’d like to

A competent detective is someone who can transform a conversation into a deeper examination, a chat into an intriguing investigation: he must keep his eyes and ears sharp, listen in the intervals between the “notes,” and decode clues that most others would miss. Whoever wants to master the art of speech must also master the art of observation.

 

Self-Absorption has decreased.

Conversation may become merely another platform for exhibiting one’s narcissism when we speak entirely about ourselves and neglect to ask the other person about themselves — when we obnoxiously interrupt, hardly allowing someone else to get a word in edgewise, and failing to listen to them when they do.

Few activities, however, can take us outside of ourselves like communication when done correctly, as a meaningful exchange. It gives you a place to build genuine interest in people. Questions such, “How can I better comprehend this person?” keep a good conversationalist going. What can I do to make them feel more at ease? What sentiments and experiences are at the root of this admission? What exactly are they attempting to say? In order to answer these inquiries, the excellent conversationalist readily gives up the floor and the spotlight. He is able to control his need to intervene and redirect the conversation back to himself. A competent conversationalist rises beyond egoism to pay attention to, spotlight, and engage the thoughts of others. He identifies, acknowledges, and complements the qualities that appear when another person talks, free of jealously or insecurity.

Creativity

Conversation, like chess, is a talent, an arena for mastery and strategy.

Conversation, like dancing, is an art form, a collaborative act of invention.

Conversational partners must be able to flow together, hit the right notes, and move to their own harmonic music.

Conversation participants, like members of an orchestra, produce something together that they could not create apart. Within this communal combinator, the collision of energy produces new, life-giving sentiments, meanings, insights, and ideas.

It’s no surprise that the locations and times where discourse was most prized — whether in ancient Greece’s agoras or 18th-century Europe’s salons and coffeehouses — also generated much of history’s most innovative thinking and philosophy. 

Courage

Every conversational move is a step into the unknown. What will the outcome be? Will there be a connection? Intimacy? Embarrassment? Hostility? 

We experience uneasiness, even panic, when we approach the threshold of a discussion — particularly one about weight — because of this uncertainty. It is for this reason that stepping over that barrier, unsure of where it may lead, requires guts.

Curiosity and a willingness to learn

Every individual is a little sovereign state, a microculture, and a world unto oneself. Conversation is the ticket to visiting these places.

If we approach them with openness and curiosity, everyone has something to teach us. Because each individual has had a unique set of experiences and filters the world through them, we may all have a unique perspective on life. These may be well-informed facts or significant insights, or they could be subtle adjustments in perspective on the forces driving mankind, the challenges individuals face, and why people believe the way they do.

The concept that we may learn from anybody we talk to applies not just to new acquaintances, but also to friends and family members we’ve known for years, if not decades. Regrettably, we have a propensity of thinking we know all there is to know about our long-term colleagues. No matter how long we’ve known someone, a determination to keeping relationships fresh — to staying persistently interested and continually seeking new secrets, disclosures, viewpoints, and wants – is fortunate.    

 

Generosity

It’s a gift to be able to have a conversation with someone else. You provide a sympathetic ear, a keen interest, a sense of humour, encouragement, warmth, and compassion. You provide your time and energy, as well as your presence and bandwidth, as well as your body and mind. You provide the resource that people today are most in need of: attention.

It is an act of hospitality to engage in conversation. Regardless of the setting or circumstances, one assumes the role of host, extending a warm welcome, putting people at ease, and assisting them in returning home, to themselves.

Self-Awareness

When we’re alone, it’s easy to assume we’re cool, confident, and appealing. When our ideas have only been heard inside the confines of our own heads, it’s tempting to believe they’re undeniably wonderful.

However, when we engage with other people, we discover that we are not who we thought we were. We acknowledge that we are not as smooth and secure as we would like to believe. We’re more sluggish, preoccupied, and self-absorbed than we think. When we try to communicate our thoughts, we discover that what appeared crystal clear in our brains becomes a jumbled mess. Our supposedly impenetrable concepts turn out to be riddled with flaws.

Conversations may be unsettling because they call into question our inflated sense of self that we develop in isolation. In the reverberation, our conversational partner acts as a sounding board, allowing us to hear our own ideas more clearly. Our spouse serves as a mirror, allowing us to see our shortcomings in the reflection more vividly.  

Improvisation

When you listen effectively to someone else, you don’t worry about what you’re going to say after they’ve finished speaking; instead, you concentrate totally on what they’re saying.  

That means you just have a few moments to compose your thoughts before responding coherently when it’s your time to speak. It’s hard to predict precisely what you’ll say before you say it. It’s something you make up as you go along. You make do with what you’ve got.

The resources we have at our disposal in “jerry-rigging” the substance of the answer are dependent on preparation: the thoughts we’ve done ahead of time, the concepts we’ve considered ahead of time, and the manners we’ve performed before.

Confidence is required for extemporaneous delivery of such information – a comfort with going with the flow, a belief in jumping without looking.

Loves that are well-ordered

According to Saint Augustine, virtue is having your affections in the correct sequence, but vice is allowing them to become disordered. Conversation is a great approach to double-check that you’ve ranked things appropriately.   

When you completely engage in a conversation, you demonstrate that you value your companion above your digital gadget.

When you don’t share hot gossip while you’re talking, you’re demonstrating that you value integrity above status.

When you put aside out-of-office work to talk to your spouse, you demonstrate that you value relationships above money.

Influence

It is unusual for someone to change as a consequence of being lectured. Instead of change, direct haranguing generates defensiveness.

 

However, in the less guarded flow of a conversation, anything you say might have a stratospheric influence on someone. Indeed, a single chat may occasionally alter the course of someone’s life.

We may sometimes provide someone with a new perspective on an old issue. Sometimes all we do is remind them of something they used to know but had forgotten, or something they felt but couldn’t put into words.

Often, the power we wield via dialogue isn’t in sparking huge light bulb moments, but in performing a continuous process in which the positive language we use, and the principles that underpin it, gradually bring out the goodness in others. Every interaction is an opportunity to leave someone in a better state than we found them. If anything changes in the world, it is one talk at a time.

Empathy

Have you ever noticed how your rage at someone builds up in the space between you and them? The more you thought about them and the damage they’d done you, the more enraged you became. However, when you eventually met this person face to face and looked them in the eyes, your rage dissipated. The one-dimensional abstraction you had formed in your mind of them, where all you could see was their defect, was replaced by a multi-faceted figure; the wonderful memories you share, their countless excellent traits, and your sentiments of fondness resurfaced.

Such is the power of empathy, which is amplified by a factor of ten when we meet in person rather than online. We can see the similarities in our goals, concerns, and problems up close. We understand that other individuals, like ourselves, are simply trying to make it in this jumbled world. We are able to experience what the other person is feeling because to “mirror neurons.” As a consequence, we have a feeling of tolerance and compassion that outweighs the misconceptions and unjust stereotypes that might form when we exclusively connect digitally, if at all.

Others’ Ensoulment

When we communicate with someone at a distance, we might lose sight of their humanity as well as our empathy for them. People become things to be used, manipulated, and discarded, rather than ends in themselves.

We treat cashiers like machines when we converse on the phone while ostensibly dealing with them.

When we sit next to someone at a party and don’t say anything, we treat them as if they were a house plant.

When we text someone to break up with them, we’re treating them like a toy.  

When we talk to the cashier, on the other hand, we view them as a real person with aspirations, dreams, emotions, and an existence outside of this job and that name-tag smock.

We admit that we share the same reality when we make a remark on the weather to a party attendee.

When we break up with someone face to face, we acknowledge them as a complex human being with whom we are eager to experience not just shared pleasure, but also mutual pain.

 

We satisfy the most fundamental of human needs: to be noticed, acknowledged, and seen, when we create time in our schedules, space in our bandwidth, to communicate with others. With our words, we en-value others. With our attention, we ensoul them.

Conclusion

The arrows of conversation operate both ways with all of the attributes listed above.

The cultivation of inner decorum leads to the cultivation of external decorum. Generosity of soul leads to verbal generosity. A well-organized intellect leads to well-organized communication.

Simultaneously, values such as patience and bravery, effort and inventiveness, humility and influence are refined through practice when discussions demand for them.

Conversation therefore both necessitates and refines character. Such activity, which is readily available to us on a daily basis, improves both the individual’s spirit and the heart of society. The ability and art, the power and joy, of one-on-one exchanges ultimately determines the health of a family, community, state, and nation.

 

 

“Conversation etiquette” is a term that has been used to describe the way we interact with one another in our daily lives. It can be difficult to come up with good conversation topics and sometimes it just takes having a friend or two to help you out. Reference: conversation etiquette.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the characteristics of good conversation?

A: Good conversations have a response time of less than thirty seconds. They include no pauses in between questions or responses, so the whole conversation can flow smoothly and quickly. The key to good conversations is being open-minded about what people say, listening for any little details that might offer clues as to how someone feels about their opinion on something, asking follow-up questions if needed and clarifying anything you dont understand from the persons perspective.

What is the importance of conversation?

A: The importance of conversation is that it creates an environment in which people can express their ideas and experiences. These expressions offer others a chance to think about these topics too, or share similar ones they have experienced themselves.

How do you have an effective conversation?

A: This is a difficult question, as it requires specific knowledge of the context or situation. In general, however, conversations should be structured in such a way that they are not too short and do not jump between topics quickly. They should also provide opportunities for people to ask questions and engage with one another on different levels

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