Conversation is More Than Just the Words

The last time my wife and I socialized in-person with friends was Saturday, February 29, 2020. Since then, in case you hadn’t heard, there has been a bit of a health crisis, that has made in-person socializing nearly impossible. Our family has been following all of the social distancing guidelines really carefully. 

Quite simply, and just like the rest of you, we miss the people in our lives… our family, our friends, our colleagues. This crisis has reinforced what we already knew, but perhaps sometimes have taken for granted… that the people in our lives enrich us in so many ways.

Now, we have tried all the things that everyone else has tried… more phone calls than normal… “zoom cocktails” with friends… more outreach over all. And there are lots of positives to all of that. The extra time with our children has also been a huge positive.

But we have realized that all the phone calls and zoom meetings don’t ever fully replicate sitting with someone, being able to look them in the eye, breathe the same air, and experience deep conversation and connection. What we have always known, but realized so clearly in the last few weeks, is that conversation and connection are about a lot more than what we say. Conversation is, yes, about our words, the stories we tell, and our listening. But it is also about the presence we bring into the room with us. Our energy. Our spirit. The way we sit. The way we tap our toe. The way we nod or smile in response to something. It is everything.

Now, some of that can come across digitally. But much of it is lost. The words, the tone of voice, the facial expression all come through. But the energy gets filtered out.

So what’s my point? Two points today.

First, never forget that we have to try harder to connect when we are not in the same room. Connection is harder via WebEx, Zoom, Teams, the phone or whatever platform you are using. We have to work at it to make it feel real.

Second, don’t ever take the people in your life for granted again. Because when all those relationships are held apart, and we are told we can’t be together, it makes it really obvious how important each other’s energy really is. 

Like you, I am waiting patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) for the opportunity to be able to spend time with our friends again soon. 

Have a great day.

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.