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Are You Having The Conversation You 'Think' You Are Having?

In the past several few months my schedule has been full with networking events, a family wedding, out of the country on business, facilitating workshops, conferences, speaking, coaching clients,…blah, blah, blah! I love going to these events and being surrounded by people, but these last few months of interacting with others felt different for me. Very Different. Is it perhaps, I myself am becoming more aware in my journey of entrepreneurship?

I’m usually the person who gets in there, connecting, mingling and introducing people to others. This time, I found myself standing back just watching and listening. For years I’ve observed behaviour, conversation styles and how people interact with each other. I had no idea why I wasn't engaging and it felt foreign to me - after all, that is the premise for my work as a networking specialist and coach - meeting people and having conversations. I kept asking myself why does it feel so different for me?

Then it hit me. I had been observing how people seemed to be more invested in the emotional proximity during a conversation than a physical one. In fact, if the conversation was based on any emotion at all, on a topic that was specific to them, the more physical the proximity became. It didn't matter if they were discussing business or talking about a their personal life. If a topic hit an emotional chord, the closer they wanted to stand near the person they were having the conversation with as if to hang on to every their every word.

This realization got me to dig a little deeper and think about how trust plays a huge factor in all conversations. Let’s face it, if we feel we can trust someone, the more comfortable we are and the more willing we are to open up and share. It creates a sort of platonic intimacy.

I asked my self this: “If conversation is so essential to core communication, why are many of us so amiss to it?” The answer, although seemingly blurred for a moment became crystal clear to me.
Every single person I witnessed engaging in a discussion, expressed their conversational skills in many different ways. They weren’t just using words - they were speaking with their eyes, their expressions, their body language, and even their breathing. More fascinating yet was the further realization that the person(s) they were interacting with, just simply didn’t see it, hear it or notice!

It made me wonder how many of us, myself included, are missing out on the core message and deeper meaning of every conversation we engage in. If only we had an internal recorder we could rewind and rewatch our own episodes. How much could we learn if we conditioned ourselves to just be more aware?

My suggestions are simple simply these; the next time you are out with friends, at a family function, a business or networking event, or just find yourself engaging with others - stop for a moment and let yourself simply observe. Take that moment to notice all the different components of how the other person is expressing themselves. You may just find that the meaning in the conversation you thought you were having with someone, might just be a completely different message they actually wanted you to hear.

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