If you think that a productive, healthy conversation is all about words, think again. In many instances, it’s what’s not being said that makes or breaks a conversation. If you’re a person with a desire to be an effective (if not, exceptional) communicator and conversationalist (leader, teacher, coach, manager, boss, parent), it’s in your interest to understand the totality of the conversational experience, and not just the conversational component that we call dialogue. With that in mind, here are some relevant questions:
1. What is their physiology (body language) telling me?
2. Are they genuinely engaged?
3. Do they care about this conversation?
4. Am I creating connection or disconnection?
5. Am I speaking their language?
6. How do they perceive me?
7. What is my physiology saying to them (friendly, intimidating, interested, bored)?
8. What kind of experience are they having right now (in this conversation)?
9. In terms of this conversation, what is their current level of knowledge, understanding and (most importantly) interest?
10. What matters to this person?
Happy (and productive) chatting.
*By the way, some people who are good talkers with big vocabularies are terrible communicators and conversationalists because they are more interested in being heard, being right and demonstrating their alleged brilliance than they are in understanding, respecting or connecting with, another person.